The administration of US President Donald Trump has reportedly revived a secret plan to sabotage Iran’s ballistic missiles as part of its broader plan to weaken the Islamic Republic’s military might and harm its economy.
Citing current and former administration officials, The New York Times reported Wednesday that the clandestine operation has been ongoing for some time now but it was practically impossible to determine whether it has been successful and if yes, to what extent.
The officials claimed the White House program might have been caused a number of Iranian recent missile launches to fail over the past years.
The program was created under former President Geroge W. Bush, who sought to disrupt Iran’s aerospace program by slipping defective parts and materials into its supply chains.
The sabotage attempts were sped up during the early years of former President Barack Obama’s time in the White House. However, they were toned down in 2017, when Mike Pompeo, who would go on to become the country’s Secretary of State, took over as the director of the CIA.
In 2016, Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), accused the US and other enemies of trying to harm Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles for defensive purposes.
“The enemies are after neutering our defense capability through infiltration and sabotage,” the general said, citing sanctions including on many ordinary parts of duel use.
“Of course, we are careful and assured of the Guards and defense industry establishment. However, the enemy might influence political officials through ballyhoo,” Hajizadeh added.
A senior Iranian commander says the enemies are seeking to sabotage the country’s missile program.
According to the IRGC commander, Iranian intelligence agencies had recorded a rise in sabotage attempts against the missile program after Tehran agreed to the 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers – the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
“After the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), most of the focus of the intelligence services, especially by the Americans, has turned to the missile issue,” Hajizadeh said.
Trump pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018, claiming that the deal failed to address Iran’s missile tests as well as its influence in the region.
The American president falsely claimed back then that the missile program was in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal. The Trump administration has also accused Iran of using its space program as a cover for its attempts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Trump has used those claims as basis to re-impose a series of tough sanctions against Iran, while pledging an international pressure campaign that would force Tehran to renegotiate a deal that would address his demands.
The issue is expected to take the spotlight in the ongoing anti-Iran summit in Warsaw, the Polish capital.
Washington hopes that the two-day event, which is attended by 60 countries, would help further its anti-Iran agenda.
The setbacks, however, have not deterred Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani singled out Tehran’s missile arsenal this week as he vowed to “continue our path and our military power.”
During this year’s ten-day Fajr (Dawn) celebrations, which precedes anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran unveiled new missiles to highlight its latest achievements.
Among them were the Dezful precision-guided missile, which is being produced at a secret underground plant, and the cruise missile Hoveizeh.
For the first time, Iran unveils an underground ballistic missile plant manufacturing precision projectiles.
Israeli experts have concluded that Hoveizeh, which has a range of over 1,300 kilometers, is essentially unstoppable as none of the existing missile defense systems in the world can trace it.
Iranian authorities also put on display life-size replicas of cruise and ballistic missiles on the route to Azadi Square in Tehran on Monday, where hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to celebrate the Revolution’s 40th anniversary.