Latest Developments

Iran debuted its latest ballistic missile on May 25 amid increasing concerns from the United States and its allies over Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani told reporters that the Khorramshahr-4 can “evade radar detection and penetrate enemy air defense systems, thanks to its low radar signature.” The Khorramshahr-4 can carry a 3,300-pound (1,500-kilogram) warhead — among the heaviest in Iran’s arsenal — with a range of 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers), according to Ashtiani. Iran’s Defense Ministry also released video and photos of a purportedly successful missile test.

Expert Analysis

“Iran’s continued ballistic missile advances are proof positive that Tehran is intent on qualitatively improving what is quantitively the largest and most dangerous ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. Given this weapon’s North Korean origins, the reported Khorramhshahr-4 test underscores the urgency of thwarting the Iran-North Korean proliferation nexus as well as the domestic Iranian industry refining these platforms.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

“With the chances for conflict with Iran growing, this latest announcement from Tehran underscores the need to increase the missile defense capacity of forward-positioned American forces in the Middle East and to expedite efforts to build a multilateral Arab-American-Israeli regional security architecture that can deter and defeat Iranian missile and drone attacks. Congress would be wise to press the administration for an update on milestones related to the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Working Group meetings from February.” Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

Developing North Korean Technology

Named after a city in southwest Iran that was the location of a bloody battle during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, the new missile seeks to commemorate the liberation of Khorramshahr, a major turning point in the conflict. The missile is an Iranian version of the North Korean Musudan ballistic missile given to Iran in the mid-2000s. Like the Musudan, the Khorramshahr-4 employs liquid propellant.  It is believed to have had only two previous variants even though it is designated as the fourth version. If Iran tested the Khorramshahr-4 as it claims, this would constitute Tehran’s 229th ballistic missile launch since it agreed to the nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015.

Iran’s Large and Diverse Arsenal

Gen. Michael Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that Iran “possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East” in addition to the largest quantity of the most capable drones. He added that Iran uses these capabilities to “coerce, intimidate, and bully its neighbors.” 

Related Analysis

Arsenal: Assessing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program,” by Behnam Ben Taleblu

Eyeing Tehran, U.S. and GCC Partners Seek to Develop Regional Security Architecture,” FDD Flash Brief

New Iran Nuclear Deal? Same Old Missile Problems.,” by Behnam Ben Taleblu

FAQ after allegations of another ballistic missile test by Tehran,” by Behnam Ben Taleblu

Tools of Terror: Iran’s Growing Ballistic Missile Threat,” by Bradley Bowman, LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster and Behnam Ben Taleblu

Subscribe to FDD Flash Briefs

magnifier linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram