A new Israeli assessment rejects oft-stated claims that Iran poses a missile threat to Israel and suggests the country's rocket program to have other objectives.
After years of branding Iranian rockets as "an existential threat" to Israel, the former head of the Israeli military Arrow missile project, Uzi Rubin, noted in a recent report that Tehran has garnered missile know-how "to defend, deter and influence".
Rubin said Iran's ongoing scientific advancements and military breakthroughs show that the Tehran government would stop at nothing to protect the Iranian people in the event of war.
According to the former security official, Israel's Air Force is counterbalanced by Iran's state-of-the-art missile program. "Missiles are an equalizer, balancing the superiority of Israel's air force," he observed.
Tal Inbar, the head of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies who co-authored the assessment with Rubin, noted the "noncontinuous progress" in Iran's missile project but doubted that it would pose an actual threat to Israel's existence.
He, however, added that Iranian missiles would be capable of traveling 3,000 kilometers in the near future, a prospect he deemed 'concerning'.
The study comes only a week after Israeli Air Force (IAF) reservists who operate the ballistic missile destroyer, the Arrow, and the surface-to-air missile, Patriot, were ordered to spend one day a week on duty to prepare for a future military showdown with Iran.
This is while Tel Aviv is widely regarded as the sixth-largest nuclear power in the world and the sole possessor of an atomic arsenal in the Middle East. Israel reportedly houses at least 100 bunker-busting bombs, which come in the form of laser-guided mini-nukes with the ability of penetrating underground targets.
During the Kennedy administration, Israel allowed American inspectors to make visits to its Dimona plant, but investigations eventually came to a halt in 1969 when former US president Richard Nixon secretly endorsed Tel Aviv's atomic arsenal.
In the early 1970s, Israel had already developed missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to most countries in the region, including Iran and Russia.
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