"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Iran's Shahab-4 Denial Fails to Impress U.S.
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A reported Nov. 5 Iranian Defense Ministry statement disavowing a program to build a medium-range ballistic missile with an estimated range up to 2,000 kilometers elicited little reaction from the United States and Israel, the two most outspoken critics of Iranian missile projects.

Published originally by the Iranian Students’ News Agency, the Iranian Defense Ministry statement was quoted by Western press reports as reading, “As we have said on several occasions and contrary to certain statements, Iran has no programme to build a Shahab-4 missile.” Iran recently announced that it successfully completed testing an estimated 1,300-kilometer-range missile, the Shahab-3, and started deploying the missile with its armed forces. (See ACT, September 2003.)

Noting that Iran has previously issued similar denials of a Shahab-4 ballistic missile program, Department of State spokesman Richard Boucher responded skeptically Nov. 7 to the reported Iranian statement, saying, “It remains unclear what tangible effect this will have on Iranian missile development.” Another State Department official said Nov. 12 that Washington still suspects Tehran is in the “missile business” despite its protests to the contrary.

Because Iran’s newly fielded Shahab-3 is assessed as being able to target Israel, the Nov. 5 report had no discernible change on Israel’s threat assessment of Iran. Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Nov. 14 that U.S.-Israeli discussions about Iran during a mid-November U.S. visit by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz were “not more relaxed” in light of the Iranian statement.

Mofaz met with senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in Washington before traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, for a Nov. 14 ceremonial handover of the first of 102 U.S. F-16I fighter jets that Israel is supposed to receive by 2008. The addition of these new fighters will raise the total number of F-16s purchased by Israel to 362. Only the U.S. Air Force possesses more F-16s than Israel.