In an otherwise interesting look at the state of Iran’s nuclear program and disputes among American and Israeli intelligence officials about how close Iran is to the bomb, The New York Times’ David Sanger gets away with a big whopper:
It is unclear how many months — or even years — it would take Iran to complete that final [nuclear weapon] design work, and then build a warhead that could fit atop its long-range missiles. [emphasis mine].
Now perhaps Sanger meant to say something along the lines of “and then build a warhead that could fit atop a future or yet to be developed long-range missile.” But that is not what the above sentence suggests. What it suggests is that Iran currently possesses long-range missiles, which, as NoH readers know, is, ummm, not true.
According to a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on Iran’s ballistic missile programs,
traditionally, the United States has defined long-range or Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) as those ballistic missiles capable of ranges greater than 5,500 kilometers (about 3,400 miles). To date, five countries have deployed operational ICBMs (all with nuclear weapons): the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain. Other countries such as Iran, are believed by some observers to have ICBM programs in varying stages of development.
In other words, Iran does not now have any long-range missiles. Iran does possess medium-range missiles that “may have range capabilities of 1,500-2,500 kilometers.” While such missiles could reach targets in Israel, Turkey, and portions of southeastern Europe, they could not threaten the rest of Europe or the United States. And while Iran may be seeking to develop long-range missiles, without substantial foreign assistance, Iran is not likely to possess a ballistic missile capable of threatening all of Europe and/or the United States within the next ten to fifteen years.
Better fact-checking, please.