/ staff writer
May 9, 2018 - At a press conference held by the National Council of Resistance of (NCRI) in Washington, D.C., new details on the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile program was exposed and senior experts discussed the multitude of threats posed by the regime of Tehran.
During the conference, moderated by Rebeccah Heinrichs, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the NCRI’s U.S. Office, introduced the NCRI’s new book, titled “Iran’s Ballistic Buildup: The March Toward Nuclear-Capable Missiles,” exposing details behind the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile program and its efforts to develop technologies capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Jaffarzadeh was joined by Prof. Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Professor Matthew Kroenig, Deputy Director for Strategy at the Atlantic Council’s Sowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Ambassador Robert Joseph, former United States Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, previously the Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks with North Korea.
In introducing NCRI’s new book, Jafarzadeh stipulated that the Iranian regime ultimately relies on three factors to ensure its survival: its nuclear program, ballistic missile drive and support for terrorist groups.
Jaffarzadeh also explained that the Iranian regime’s notorious Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force is in charge of the regime’s ballistic missile program and displayed locations and details of 15 sites where Iran’s missiles are built. NCRI’s book, which includes some of the most secretive aspects of the Iranian regime’s missile program, also shows the details of 27 missile-launch locations, which are—not coincidentally—mostly located along Iran’s southern and western borders.
“You can’t deal with the nuclear program without dealing with its missile program and its meddling in the countries of the region,” Jafarzadeh said, underlining that no matter what policies are being pursued, the lasting solution to Iran is regime change.
Also speaking on the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile program, Ambassador Joseph said, “The only purpose of an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) program is to deliver nuclear weapons.”
Professor Kroenig reminded that while the Iranian regime has not yet been able to develop its ICBM capability, it is bound to do so within a few years, and it will then be able to reach the United States. Even now, Kroenig underlined, the regime’s short- and medium-ranged missiles are posing a threat to U.S. troops and allies in the region.
“Iran already has the capability to conduct a non-nuclear strategic attack against U.S. and its allies,” Kroenig said.
Speaking to the flaws of the Iran nuclear deal, Kroenig said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known, does not cover Iran’s ballistic missile program and has allowed Iran to preserve uranium enrichment capability that even the U.S.’s closest allies have been denied.
“Missiles are key to any nuclear agreement,” Ambassador DeTrani said, reminding that the Iranian regime has conducted over 20 ballistic missile launches since the signing of the JCPOA.
Heinrichs, who moderated the conference, reminded that not only the Iranian regime has been developing missiles, but it has also been proliferating them across the region and to its proxies, including the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Ambassador Joseph also reminded how past experience shows rogue regimes such as Iran only respond when faced with strength.
“Three years after the JCPOA, the Iranian regime is far more aggressive in the region,” Jaffarzadeh concluded, also stipulating that the untraceable cash provided to the Iranian regime wasn’t used to fix the economy but to increase the Iranian regime’s presence in the region.
Testament to the fact is the increased poverty in the country since the signing of the deal. Jafarzadeh stressed that the Iranian people do not support the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions and its meddling in the countries of the region, stating some of the slogans chanted during recent uprisings in Iran, including “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I will give my life for Iran” and “Leave , think about us.” Jaffarzadeh also said that contrary to what the Iranian regime tries to depict, the people of Iran see the regime—not the U.S. or other foreign states—as their number one enemy.
“What’s really happening on the ground is that the people have risen up against the regime,” Jaffarzadeh said. “If pressure is built there’s no need for foreign intervention. The people of Iran have already risen to overthrow the regime.”
Joseph also reiterated that, “The number one threat to the regime is the people,” stressing the need to support the people of Iran in their ultimate quest for freedom and democracy.