The Islamic Republic’s state media have started bragging about developing missiles and drones and distributing them among its allies throughout the Middle East.
In articles in media affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards on Sunday, the regime boasted about its “integrated missile network” and how it has armed the axis of “resistance” in the Middle East, a term which refers to a network of pro-Iranian proxies and Tehran-backed militias across the region, particularly Hezbollah, the Palestinians and Yemen.
The articles also paid a tribute to Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, an IRGC general who was one of Iran’s earliest missile architects. He was killed when a huge explosion rocked a missile facility 30 miles from Tehran on November 12, 2011. Moghaddam was among 17 top IRGC officers killed that day, in what many believed was an operation by Israeli intelligence.
He was important for the Islamic Republic because he was one of the main experts who shifted the focus of country’s air force to missiles and drones instead of fighter jets that Iran could not acquire due to Western sanctions and unwillingness by others to get their hands dirty. Tehrani Moghaddam is often described as the “father” of Iran’s missile program.
Facing a disparity in air power, Iran started developing missiles and drones based on Soviet models or Soviet-origin models that came from China, or even, from North Korea.
“Tehrani Moghaddam also established the Lebanese Hezbollah’s missile units during a visit to Lebanon in the 1980s. Analysts believe that Tehrani Moghaddam has based Iran’s defense strategy on missile capabilities and missile deterrence, a move that effectively removed the military option of the enemies of Iran from the table,” read one of the articles.
IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency claimed that thanks to Tehrani Moghaddam “the Islamic Republic has become the first missile power in the region and one of the top missile powers in the world, with a diverse range of ballistic missiles at its disposal." Tasnim provided a long list of Iranian drones and missiles, as well as the ones that the regime helped its allies develop based on its models, such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, the Hashd or the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and the Syrian regime.
According to the article, Palestinian groups began using missiles and Iran’s Fajr 5 rocket against Israel years ago. Hezbollah also began to deploy Iranian-backed missile technology against Israel, Tasnim claimed, saying that missiles were used in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and Hezbollah was eventually equipped with the Fateh 110 missile. The article also mentioned more examples of Iranian missiles used by its proxy groups, from Yemen to Lebanon.
“What is a noteworthy point in this field is that the resistance forces in both Yemen and Lebanon today are equipped with surface-to-surface, anti-ship and long-range cruise missiles, that are able to hit all types of vessels in different ranges with proper accuracy and destructive power, and if appropriate tactics are used, they are also able to pass through the defense systems of combat vessels,” read the piece by Tasnim.
It, however, said “No official source in Iran has yet officially confirmed the sending of missiles to Yemen and the resistance front. It seems that now the resistance groups have achieved the technologies of using and sometimes manufacturing all kinds of missiles and rockets.”
The whole point of the article is that the Islamic Republic has knit together a unified network of its allies using its drones to expand their range of action and now seek to create an “integrated missile network” across the region putting it “under the umbrella of the integrated missile and drone network of Iran and its allies, and a new challenge will arise for America and its regional supporters.”