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Tue Jul 3, 2012 3:54PM
Interview with Nader Mokhtari, Columnist & Commentator

Interview with Nader Mokhtari, Columnist & Commentator

I think Western analysts who have been observing Iran’s capabilities know that Iran’s military doctrine is based around defense of the Iranian territory and it is not in any way based around an offensive capability.”
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) has begun its military drill, the Great Prophet 7, by firing indigenously made missiles at hypothetical enemy bases. On Tuesday, IRGC’s long, medium and short-range missiles targeted “simulations of the trans-regional forces’ airbases” in the northern Semnan Desert. The domestically-produced missiles include Shahab (Meteor) 1, 2, 3, Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf), Tondar (Lightning), Fateh (Victor) and Zelzal (Quake) as well as Qiam (Uprising). Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says the ongoing drill in the central sector of the country is intended to convey a message of sovereignty and full preparedness to establish security in the Persian Gulf as well as the Strait of Hormuz. Press TV has conducted an interview with Nader Mokhtari, a columnist and commentator, to further talk over the issue. Below is an approximate transcript of the interview. Press TV: We have here 6 missiles in total; we have 2 ballistic, one cruise, 2 surface-to-surface and one long-range. Give us your view about these missiles and of course what that means in terms of the capabilities of Iran’s army. Mokhtari: Kaveh, thanks for having me in the first place. There was a time that if we fought a Shahab 3 missile or a Qiam missile, it would be something new and it would wow everyone but these are pretty much standard kit in Iran’s missile defense arsenal. Now the Qiam missile, in particular, is an interesting missile because it is a medium-range missile but it is solid fuel. So what happens is it takes only about 7 or 8 minutes to erect the missile and fire it. Now with liquid propellant missiles, you have to erect them, fuel them and then fire them. They take longer and we see the Iranian missile defenses and industries moving more and more toward a medium-range or intermediate-range missiles with solid propellants because it is a quicker time, response time, and you do not need to take the trouble of transporting fuel for them and they can literally be fired from anywhere in a very short space of time. Also Qiam is equipped with a multiple warhead capability, i.e. it can hit a number of targets with a single launch. So that is a pretty good piece of kit to have. But generally these are missiles which are now standard equipment within Iran’s missile capability and defenses but there are others more advanced versions on the development and they are more accurate and all problems such as being detected by radar are being looked at across the board, i.e. pretty soon all of our missiles will be radar-evading because of the coating they will be getting. Press TV: So aside from that, am I to gather here looking at some of the descriptions that it is covering pretty much the gamut whether it comes to medium-range or long-range and of course then the surface-to-surface? Mokhtari: Iran does have, across the board, a particularly good missile capability and because it is not dependant on any parts on outside countries, it is its first line of defense. Also any countries that have ideas about Iran are aware that whilst they may be shifting forces toward Iran with ill-intentions, behind them their installations will be taken out before they even get to the Iranian soil. So that is always a good deterrent to have and Iran really uses its missile capability as a deterrent more than anything else. I think Western analysts who have been observing Iran’s capabilities know that Iran’s military doctrine is based around defense of the Iranian territory and it is not in any way based around an offensive capability. So in terms of defense, Iran can cover a fairly good radius of action with its missiles and it can carry out point defense or it can carry out defense up to a range of 2000 kilometers. As I said, if an enemy has intentions, then what happens is Iranian missile units will be taking out the logistics and their installations long before they get anywhere near Iranian borders. Press TV: It is interesting the media spin on this; they do say that Iran is showing its ability to retaliate which is the deterrent factor on this but at the same time, capable of striking a number of points; they mention Israel in their reports or any of the US warships. Why are they putting those two in the same equation knowing that Iran is after all a doctrine that is based on deterrence? Mokhtari: Countries that have a nuclear-tip missile in submarines, 5000 kilometers away from their shores and going around the world, cannot really call that a deterrent. Our deterrence is based on our soil and it is designed to strike back at anyone with ill-intentions within a given radius. They always make a hue and cry of this but even they are aware and their analysts are aware that Iranian capabilities are defensive but they should have no doubt that given Iran’s experience as with Saddam Hussein that if they try anything, they are going to get hit back. I mean self-defense is the right enshrined in the UN charter. MSK/JR
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