News

DATE=12/31/97

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-224677

TITLE=IRAN / MISSILES (L)

BYLINE=JIM RANDLE

DATELINE=PENTAGON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO:  AN AMERICAN EXPERT ON MILITARY ISSUES AND THE MIDDLE EAST

SAYS REPORTED BALLISTIC MISSILE ENGINE TESTS IN IRAN ARE A REASON

FOR CONCERN BUT  NOT  ALARM.  AS V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM 

THE PENTAGON, THE ISSUE IS GETTING A GOOD BIT OF OFFICIAL 

ATTENTION.



TEXT:  ANALYST TONY CORDESMAN OF "THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND 

INTERNATIONAL STUDIES" IN WASHINGTON SAYS REPORTED BALLISTIC 

MISSILE ENGINE TESTS IN IRAN ARE ANOTHER STEP ALONG A PATH HE 

CALLS "CREEPING PROLIFERATION." 



HE SAYS IRAN HAS BEEN WORKING FOR YEARS IN A METHODICAL, 

PLODDING, FASHION TO DEVELOP WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND THE 

MEANS TO DELIVER THEM.  



THE WASHINGTON POST SAYS IRAN IS WORKING ON A NEW GENERATION OF 

BALLISTIC MISSILES CAPABLE OF CARRYING A ONE-THOUSAND KILOGRAM 

LOAD 12-HUNDRED OR 13-HUNDRED KILOMETERS.  IF TRUE, THAT'S FAR 

ENOUGH TO REACH ISRAEL OR MOST OF IRAN'S ARAB NEIGHBORS.



THE NEWSPAPER REPORT CITES INTELLIGENCE SOURCES FOR ITS 

INFORMATION.  OFFICIALS AT THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY AND 

THE PENTAGON DECLINED COMMENT ON THE STORY. 



STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN JAMES FOLEY (ON WEDNESDAY) WOULD ONLY 

REPEAT WASHINGTON'S LONG-STANDING CONCERNS.



                       /// FOLEY ACT  ///



         WE TAKE REPORTS OF IRAN'S SEEKING AND DEVELOPING WEAPONS

         OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND THEIR MEANS OF DELIVERY 

         EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY.  



                         /// END ACT ///



MR. CORDESMAN SAYS IRAN ALREADY HAS SOME LONG-RANGE MISSILES 

PURCHASED FROM NORTH KOREA THAT ALLOWS THEM TO REACH MOST OF THE 

CRITICAL OIL TARGETS IN THE GULF.  BUT HE SAYS THEY MAY BE MAKING

PROGRESS TOWARD A MORE DEADLY WEAPON.



                     /// CORDESMAN ACT   ///



         OVER THE PAST YEAR, HOWEVER, THERE HAVE BEEN NEW ENGINE 

         TESTS, MOST OF THEM LIQUID-FUELED, SOME OF THEM 

         SOLID(-FUELED); THESE POTENTIALLY WILL GIVE IRAN THE 

         CAPABILITY TO -- AND THERE IS A TECHNICAL DEBATE OVER 

         HOW SOON -- TO DELIVER MUCH LARGER WARHEADS MUCH LARGER 

         DISTANCES. AND THIS COULD DRAMATICALLY INCREASE THE 

         LETHALITY OF THESE MISSILES.  



                         /// END ACT ///



MR. CORDESMAN SAYS ANALYSTS MUST ALSO WATCH FOR DEVELOPMENTS IN 

MISSILE GUIDANCE SYSTEMS AND MORE POWERFUL WARHEADS.  HE SAYS 

IRAN WILL HAVE TO MAKE PROGRESS IN ALL OF THESE AREAS BEFORE THEY

CAN CHANGE THE CURRENT MILITARY BALANCE IN THE REGION.



                       //// REST  OPT /// 



                     //// CORDESMAN ACT  ///



         WHAT IS CRITICAL HERE IN UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT ON THE

         BALANCE ... IF IRAN GETS MISSILES WITH REALLY EFFECTIVE 

         BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS, OR EVEN AIRCRAFT WITH BOMBS WITH 

         SIMILAR LETHALITY, THEY HAVE ROUGHLY THE SAME KILLING 

         EFFECT AS THEATER NUCLEAR WEAPONS, AND THEY DO MAKE A 

         MAJOR CHANGE IN THE REGION IN THE MILITARY BALANCE.



                        /// END ACT  /// 



MR. CORDESMAN, WHO HAS WIDE EXPERIENCE IN GOVERNMENT, CAUTIONS 

AGAINST FOCUSING TOO MUCH ON IRAN'S MISSILE PROGRAM.  HE SAYS 

IRAN COULD ALSO DELIVER BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS FROM PLANES OR EVEN 

SAILBOATS.  (SIGNED). 



NEB/PT/RRM



31-Dec-97 3:28 PM EST (2028 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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