What Missile Exactly? Reuters Misses Target as It Spreads Fear on Iran Expanding Missile Range
The story ran by the news agency on Wednesday cited Iran’s Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh as saying: “One of our most important programs is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition,” and “We don’t see any limitations for ourselves in this field”, RT said in a report.
Sounds scary? Sure, because, Reuters added, the Iranian military say the range of their missiles is 2,000km and it is enough to target “US bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, plus US aircraft carriers in the [Persian] Gulf”. It’s so scary that the US deemed it a good reason to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.
The only problem with this leap of logic is that General Nasirzadeh leads Iran’s Air Force (which Reuters did mention) and that he was speaking about Iranian air-to-air missiles (which Reuters omitted). Air-to-air missiles are fired by aircraft and hit aircraft, not “bases in Afghanistan and aircraft carriers in the [Persian] Gulf”.
And it just so happens that Iran’s Air Force is not the scariest part of its military. It mostly consists of US-made aircraft, which the country received back when it was led by Washington’s buddy, the Shah. This year’s big achievement for the military arm is that now Iran is mass producing the Fakour-90 long-range air-to-air missile.
It’s a clone of the American AIM-54 Phoenix, can be fired from Iran’s American F-14 Tomcats and has a whopping reported operational range of 150km, compared to 190km of the original, which was retired along with its platform more than a decade ago.
Iran’s Fars news agency, the source of the quotes from General Nasirzadeh, cites him this way.
“Today, we are after increasing the range of our air-to-air missiles. Therefore, one of our most important plans is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition. We are after Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles and ammunition and consider no limitations in this regard for ourselves because the Air Force should heighten the country’s deterrence power along with other (Armed) Forces.”