Scott Lucas

hirvin Zeinalzadeh, who writes on Iranian affairs for Enduring America, evaluates the significance of Tehran’s firing of a solid-fuel missile last week:

Iran last week successfully test-fired the controversial solid fuel ‘Sejjil 2’ missile, ahead of the upcoming Iranian Presidential elections and with prominent publicity and international attention.

The immediate reaction from Israeli and US outlets went farther, speculating that Iran would use this as a platform for nuclear weapons. Israeli foreign minister Avidgor Lieberman said, “Israel and the US share an understanding on strategic goals, first and foremost dismantling Iran from the ability to attain non-conventional arms.”

The reality, however, is that the nuclear issue is peripheral to both the symbolic and military importance of the test-firing. This is once a statement by Iran , both to its own people and to the world, that a nationalist rallying around the flag will lead to self-sufficient military power.

Iran has no power whatsoever in its arsenal to reach the US mainland. Instead, Tehran’s initiaitive is in the context of the creation of NATO and US strategic bases in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Diego Garcia.

Iran’s justification, therefore, is that it is balancing the power in the region with its missile development A range of 2000 kilometres ensure that Iran can deter the US or Israel from attacking it through with the possibility of a counterstrike against any forces based in the area within the Sejjil’s range.

This notion was put forth in President Ahmadinejad’s statement, “Today Iran has the power to turn any base that fires a bullet at Iran into hell.” He added, “Today we declare that no country has the power to threaten Iran.”

The power politics are in play, as Iran seeks to defend its sovereignty and territorial rights by boosting its defence system. As Ahmadinejad said, “Unfortunately today there are some people who think that compromise with enemies will remove threats, but experience has shown that whenever Iran softens its stance the enemies are emboldened.”