Cablegate: Missile Technology Control Regime (Mtcr): Iran's


DE RUEHC #8727 2661530
P R 231510Z SEP 09

S E C R E T STATE 098727


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2034

Classified By: ISN/MTR Director Pam Durham.
Reasons: 1.4 (B), (D), (H).

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 2.

2. (C) ACTION REQUEST: Department requests Embassy Paris
provide the interagency cleared paper "Iran,s Ballistic
Missile Program" in paragraph 3 below to the French Missile
Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Point of Contact (POC) for
distribution to all Partners. Info addressees also may
provide to host government officials as appropriate. In
delivering paper, posts should indicate that the U.S. is
sharing this paper as part of our preparation for the
Information Exchange that will be held in conjunction with
the MTCR Plenary in Rio, November 9-13, 2009. NOTE:
Additional IE papers will be provided via septels. END



Iran,s Ballistic Missile Program


Iran has the largest and most active missile program in
the Middle East. It possesses a sizable number of MTCR
Category I and Item 19 missile systems, and is developing
more capable systems with greater ranges. Iran's improving
domestic ballistic missile capabilities raise concerns
that it could act as a supplier of ballistic missile
technology to other parties -- a development that is
particularly troubling in view of Iran,s expanding
military cooperation with Syria. However, Iran also
remains reliant on foreign sources for some critical
materials, and continues to use its extensive procurement
network to acquire these goods from entities in states
both within and outside the MTCR.


Iran currently is involved in researching, developing, and
producing multiple ballistic missile systems. Iran
produces liquid- and solid- propellant short-range
ballistic missiles (SRBMs), liquid propellant medium-range
ballistic missiles (MRBM), and on May 20, 2009
successfully tested a two-stage solid propellant MRBM
called the Sajjil.

Iran's inventory of SRBMs includes the liquid-propellant
Scud B and Scud C (which Tehran calls the Shahab-l and -2,
respectively), the solid-propellant Fateh-110, and the
Chinese-supplied CSS-8 (Western designation) based on the
SA-2 surface-to-air missile. Iran has moved beyond the
point of merely assembling these systems and appears
capable of producing many of these missiles' subsystems,
as well as liquid and solid propellants. Iran's expertise
now includes guidance technology -- often the most
difficult field for fledgling missile producers to master
-- which Iran is marketing to third countries at defense
exhibitions and on government websites.

Shahab MRBMs

Iran has pursued programs to develop a range of liquid-
propellant MRBMs, most building on Scud technology. Iran
claims to have delivered the 1,300-km-range Shahab-3 to
its military and, as has been discussed at prior MTCR
Information Exchange (IE) meetings, has flight-tested the
system multiple times. Recent development efforts have
focused on an improved variant of the Shahab-3, often
referred to in the press as the Shahab-4 (and in previous
IE sessions as the "Shahab-3 Lite"). Iranian officials
have claimed that this missile has a range of 2,000-km
and is more accurate than the standard Shahab-3. During a
military parade in September 2007, Iran displayed a new
MRBM, referred to as the Ghadr-l, which Iranian officials
claimed had a range of 1,800-km. The missile is
considered a variant of the Shahab-series ballistic
missiles, and was seen with a "baby-bottle shroud" or
triconic warhead.

The Sajjil

Iran is developing a two-stage solid-propellant MRBM
publicly called the Sajjil. However, Admiral Ali
Shamkhani, head of Iran,s Research Institute for
Strategic Defense, has noted that the Sajjil project
originally was called the Ashura. Iran first announced
this system in November 2007, claiming it had developed a
new solid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of
2,000-km. But prior to these statements, Iran's defense
ministry revealed it had conducted some tests related to
solid-propellant missile technology that likely were
related to the design for a two-stage 2,000-km-range
system. Iran flight-tested the Sajjil on November 12,
2008 and again on May 20, 2009. The 2008 test probably
failed, but the May 2009 test probably was successful.

Space Launch Vehicle (SLV)

Iran has accelerated its work toward developing a
domestic space program, announcing in February 2008 its
intent to place a satellite into orbit, utilizing a new
SLV called Safir that Iran has displayed for the media.
Iran tested the Safir on August 17, 2008, and claimed
that it successfully placed a dummy satellite into orbit.
However, no such object was ever detected in orbit.
Prior to the launch, President Ahmadinejad publicly
announced that Iran would orbit the Omid satellite, with
no mention that it would be a mockup or a dummy
satellite. Taken together, these factors suggest that
the launch actually failed.

Iran's second attempt to orbit a satellite using the
Safir was successful. The Omid satellite was launched on
February 2, 2009, and remained in orbit until April 25,
2009. Although the Safir is restricted to very small
payloads (the Omid weighed only 27 kg), Iran - through
the Safir launch - has demonstrated several capabilities
necessary for longer-range ballistic missiles: staging,
clustered engines in the second stage (although these
were small), and gimbaled engines for control of the
second stage, a more advanced technique than the jet
vanes used in the first stage.

Support to Foreign Ballistic Missile Programs

As its missile program has advanced, Iran has
increasingly been acting as a supplier of missile
technology to other states, which could violate United
Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1737, 1747,
and 1803. Iran now offers a number of missile-related
products on the global market, including
electromechanical Scud gyros, propellants, and missile-
related production facilities.

Iran has been assisting Syria in the ballistic missile
field since the early 1990s. In addition to the joint
construction with Syria's Scientific Studies and Research
Center (SSRC) of both solid- and liquid-propellant
production facilities in Syria, Syria and Iran have
entered into an agreement for the transfer of Fateh-110
production technology from Iran to Syria. By at least
2007, Syria began receiving missile parts and technical
assistance from Iran related to this project and
successfully flight tested two Fateh-110 missiles in
December of 2007 and one in December 2008. Syria -- and
possibly Iran -- has made available the 270-km-range
Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) to
Lebanese Hizballah, as part of Iran's agreement to share
Fateh-110 production technology with Syria. Hizballah
personnel probably participated in Fateh-110 meetings and
test launches in both Syria and Iran over the past three
years. This is consistent with Iran and Syria's past
practice of supplying Hizballah with long-range rockets,
which Hizballah used in the 2006 war against Israel.

Foreign-Procured Materials

Despite Iran's progress, and its overarching goal of
self-sufficiency, its ballistic missile program remains
reliant on outside sources for a variety of materials.
Moreover, even though some of these materials are
available domestically, Tehran has continued to acquire
such goods abroad. This may be because the missile
program does not trust the quality of indigenously
produced goods and therefore cannot reliably sustain its
missile development efforts without foreign sources of

Much of Iran's procurement needs still lie in the field
of advanced materials, and Iranian ballistic missile
entities continue to seek specialized steels and aluminum
from foreign suppliers. These materials are often sought
to produce ballistic missile airframes due to their high-
strength, low weight, and corrosion-resistant properties,
and are suitable for Iran's Shahab series of missiles.
For example, Iran has sought MTCR-controlled titanium-
stabilized duplex stainless steel (TiDSS) that can be
utilized in structural components for liquid-propellant
missiles, as well as AISI 4130-grade and AISI 4340-grade
steel. AISI 4340 and AISI 4130 are not MTCR-controlled,
but have been used by Iran to produce first- and second-
stage motor cases for its solid propellant MRBM. In
addition, Iran has sought specialized aluminum alloys
such as types AlMg6 and 7075. The lightweight AlMg6
would allow Iran's ballistic missiles to achieve
significant increases in range and the 7075 high-strength
alloy is usable in missile airframes, reentry vehicles,
and structural support elements. Iran also has sought
tungsten-copper alloys that are not MTCR-controlled but
have been associated with the production of missile jet

Iranian missile entities also continue to be dependent on
foreign suppliers for graphite. High-quality graphite
could be used to produce nose cone tips, nozzle throat
inserts, and jet vanes for Iran's Scud-based and solid-
propellant missiles. Similarly, Iran probably cannot
produce machine tools of the quality and sophistication
needed in the production of ballistic missiles, requiring
procurement of these items abroad. Iranian missile
entities or front companies have sought machine tools
such as lathes, vertical machining centers, milling
machines, and turning centers. Iranian missile entities
also have sought equipment to test missiles or their
components, including vibration and acoustic test
equipment, data acquisition systems, and thermal shock

In addition to items controlled by the MTCR, Iran
continues to seek non-listed items on the international
market. For example, Iran often attempts to procure
lower-grade, non-MTCR-controlled graphite that could
contribute to Iran,s ballistic missile program through
its use in machining processes or metals production. In
2008, Iran sought quantities of sodium perchlorate from
suppliers in China. Sodium perchlorate is not controlled
by the MTCR, but can be used in the production of
ammonium perchlorate.

Procurement Infrastructure and Front Companies

The Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), a
subordinate entity to the Iranian Ministry of Defense and
Armed Forces Logistics, was created in 1998 and oversees
all of Iran's missile-related research, development, and
production efforts. This includes efforts for ballistic
missiles, surface-to-air systems, anti-tank guided
rockets, and anti-ship cruise missiles. The key missile-
related AIO subordinates are: the Shahid Hemmat
Industrial Group (SHIG), the organization responsible for
development and production of liquid-propellant ballistic
missiles; the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group (SBIG), the
organization responsible for development and production
of solid-propellant ballistic missiles and rockets; and
the Fajr Industrial Group (FIG), the organization
responsible for the development of ballistic missile
guidance systems.

As has been discussed extensively in previous IE
sessions, these organizations often use an elaborate set
of front companies to hide their involvement with AIO and
the actual nature of their procurement. The following
front companies are commonly used as procurement covers
for AIO and its subordinate organizations in dealings
with technology suppliers outside of Iran:

- Ettehad Technical Group
- Everend Asia Company
- Helal Co
- Joza Industrial Co
- Mahestan (Import and Export) Co.
- Mehr Engineering and Industrial Group
- Mizan Machine Manufacturing Group (3MG)
- Pejman Industrial Services Corp
- Safety Equipment Procurement (S.E.P. Inc)
- Sahand Aluminum Parts Industrial Company (SAPICO)
- Tiz Pars Technical and Engineering Company
- Ecxir Trading Company
- Sabalan Co.
- Baharan Factories Group
- Noavin Ltd.
- Pars Novin Industrial Company
- Parto Angizan Company
- South Industrial Power
- Aban Commercial and Industrial Group
- Pooya Commercial and Engineering Co.
- Selm Commercial Co.
- Saba Machinery Supplying Co.

It is important to note that other AIO-affiliated
organizations involved in non-ballistic missile
enterprises also may share resources and technology with
SHIG, SBIG, and FIG. These entities include the Sanam
Industrial Group, Sanam Projects Management (SPM), and Ya
Mahdi Industries Group. Transfers of raw materials and
machinery to these entities may contribute to Iran's
production of MTCR Category I missile systems.

In addition to the various companies linked to AIO, we
also believe that the following Iranian entities have
engaged in procurement activities for Iran's
WMD/missile/conventional arms programs:

- Electro Sanam Company (E.S. Company)
- Instrumentation Factories Plan
- Iran Cement Engineering and Parts (ICEP) Co. Ltd.
- Kaveh Cutting Company
- M. Babaie Industries
- Missile Industries Group
- Motlagh Industrial Factory
- Parchin Missile Industries
- Sanam Industrial Group
- Sanam Projects Management (SPM)
- Schiller Novin
- Shafizadeh Industries
- Shahabadi Industies
- Shahid Babaie Industries Complex (SBIC)
- Shiveh Tolid Company
- State Purchasing Office (SPO)

These entities act as key nodes in a global network of
procurement agents and fictitious end-users that provide
Iran with access to dual-use goods, raw materials, and
critical technologies for its ballistic missile programs
that would otherwise be unavailable.


Iran currently appears focused on increasing the
capability and range of its ballistic missiles. Although
Iran is unlikely to deploy the Safir SLV as a ballistic
missile, the Safir, and the development and test of the
two-stage Sajjil MRBM, has provided Iran with much of the
technology and experience necessary to develop and
produce longer-range ballistic missiles, including ICBMs.
Tehran could attempt to develop and test much of this
technology under the guise of an SLV program. Iran
remains dependent on foreign technology, however, and
this dependency will continue to affect Iran's ability to
acquire critical materials for its ballistic missile
programs. A key challenge to MTCR Partners is to ensure
that Iran does not gain access to the technologies it
needs to develop longer-range missiles.


4. (U) Please slug any reporting on this or other MTCR
issues for ISN/MTR. A word version of this document
will be posted at

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