Iran might have been hiding an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile testing site in plain view, until a group of California-based experts figured it out while watching public Iranian TV and obtained new photos of the area.
The team from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey announced their findings late Wednesday in The New York Times. ICBMs could threaten Europe and the US and their findings could have a major impact on the ongoing Iran nuclear issue debate.
The Jerusalem Post communicated directly with members of the team and learned there is strong evidence that tests are now being carried out at the site near Shahrud in northeast Iran which could lead to Iran developing the ability to fire nuclear ICBMs globally. Previously, it was thought the site was either defunct or being used to test medium-range missiles.
Researchers, led by nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis, told the Post by email that it was clear “Iran was striving for a large space launcher like India’s PSLV [Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle] and the test stands are for very large engines, consistent with a rocket that could deliver a nuclear-weapons sized payload to ICBM ranges.”
This was, Lewis noted, “the same path India took [to developing a nuclear ICBM capability]: Develop a large space launch vehicle, then transition to technologies to a smaller ICBM.”
Like many other technologies Iran has experimented with, this space launch testing has a dual use, one of them being a nuclear ICBM.
Unlike other dual-use technologies, no one knew the Shahrud site was being used for testing that could help Iran move much faster toward nuclear ICBM capability – until Tuesday.
The group started to have suspicions after a young research fellow named Fabian Hinz presented them with old video footage related to IRGC commander Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam.