Posted on November 16, 2016 by Craig Davison in Iran, Iraq, Middle East, News, Politics, Syria
Hussaein Sheikh al-Islam, advisor to Iran’s foreign affairs minister, has said that Iran’s manufacturing of missiles has expanded beyond Syria due to the “increasing Israeli threats in the region”.
Sheikh al-Islam did not provide extensive details of Iran’s missile manufacturing apparatus but did name Iraq as one of many countries in which ballistic missiles are produced, according to Mizan, Iran’s judiciary system-affiliated news agency.
“The road to Jerusalem passes through Karbala“, said Sheikh al-Islam in what is most likely coded language for Iraq.
“Manufacturing and producing Iranian missiles is not limited to Syria”, Sheikh al-Islam. “It includes areas surrounding Israel.”
He added that Iran has trained its allies in other countries to use the missile technology and produce missiles in their region, referencing southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. He said that the knowledge was disseminated because it is easier to have missiles produced on-site than to transport them from Iran to nearby countries.
The statement was issued just two days after Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri revealed that Iran had overseen the manufacturing of ballistic missiles in Aleppo during the past few years.
Bagheri said that Iran’s missile program was spearheaded by Hassan Tehran, who established a factory for missile production near Aleppo.
Bagheri also said that Lebanese Hezbollah fighters used Aleppo-produced missiles during the war in Lebanon in 2006.
The revelation also followed statements by an agency affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) saying that Houthi rebels in Yemen have used Soviet-era Iranian Scud missiles. These statements were, however, denied by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
Iran has not yet officially acknowledged that it provides weapons to the rebels despite repeated U.S. interceptions of weapons shipments from Iran to Houthi fighters.
Sheikh al-Islam served as Iran’s ambassador to Syria between 1998 and 2003 before becoming advisor on Arab affairs to Speaker, and later on advisor to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Earlier in June, Secretary General of the so-called Lebanese “Hezbollah” confirmed that his troops obtaining weapons, including missiles, and money directly from Iran.
Meanwhile, former chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi revealed that the Iranian armed forces experimented with ballistic missile “Imad” of range 2,700 in October 2015, according to the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Firouzabadi told Tasnim news agency, that no missiles are tested without the prior approval of the General Commander of the Armed Forces which is occupied by Ali Khamenei, according to Iran’s constitution.
Firouzabadi explained that after ballistic missiles are produced, a permission is required from Khamenei to do experiments and maneuvers, adding that Khamenei decides the time to do so.
The White House has threatened Tehran with economic sanctions after its second missile maneuver in November 2015, but the administration delayed the implementation of the sanctions which was disapproved by Republicans.
In response to the White House, Iranian President Hassan Rohani ordered the defense minister to increase the production of rockets and take the required measures “to enhance the missile defense program”.
Last July, United Nations Secretary-General said that Iran’s tests are “inconsistent” with the spirit of the nuclear deal, but he refrained from confessing whether these experiments represent a breach of Security Council resolution 2231.
Resolution 2231 was issued by the Security Council following the nuclear deal which stated that sanctions would be lifted in exchange for Iran accepting to halt uranium enrichment.
In Iran, ballistic missile “Imad” angered the supporters of the nuclear deal, saying the missile tests is an attempt to derail the nuclear deal, while Revolutionary Guards commanders continue to disregard Resolution “2231”.
Meanwhile, the Iranian opposition outside Iran(NCRI) called onthe UN Security Council to impose strict sanctions on Mahan Air and confirmed it’s owned by the Revolutionary Guards.
The opposition also said that the airliner transfers of weapons, equipment and Revolutionary Guards’ members to Syria adding that this was a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.