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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SCUD-B Shahab-1

© Charles P. Vick 2007 All Rights Reserved

February 01, 2007


The opinions and evaluations stated here in are only the authors and cannot be construed to reflect those of any Government agency, company, institute or association. It is based on public information, circumstantial evidence, informed speculation, declassified U.S. intelligence community documents, official Iranian and North Korean government documents and histories, oral histories, interviews and reverse engineering analysis. As with all data regarding the Iranian and North Korean strategic space and ballistic missile programs, this analysis is subject to revision--and represents a work in progress.

SCUD-B, Shahab-1

Iran is believed to have acquired four Scud launchers and 54 missiles from Libya and Syria in 1985-86. The 300-km range of this missile permitted strikes around Baghdad, 130 km from the Iranian border. Tehran began using the Scuds against Iraq in March 1985, and one analyst estimated that Iran fired fourteen Scuds at Iraqi cities during that year. More Scud-Bs were acquired, according to a detailed South Korean magazine report, in a $5 million armaments deal with North Korea. Among the items reportedly purchased were 90-100 Scud-B missiles. "The delivery of the missiles is believed to have begun immediately after the conclusion of the contract [June 1987] and was completed by the beginning of 1988" (Kugbanggwa Kisul, Sept 89, No. 127, FBIS-EAS 29 Nov 89).

Iran received more than 200 Scuds directly from the Soviet Union. In return, the USSR was allegedly permitted to establish an electronic listening post in northern Iran. The high level of anti-Soviet rhetoric coming out of Iran in 1987 makes it seem doubtful that any missiles were transferred, directly at least, from Moscow to Tehran. That Iran did receive large numbers of Scuds is certain; in the "war of the cities" with Iraq from 1985 to 1988, Iran fired a number of Scud-B missiles variously estimated at between "nearly 100" and exactly 231(Zaloga, "Ballistic missiles in the Third World").

According to the 1995 Jane's Intelligence Review - Special Report No. 6 on Iran's weapons, Iran's present missile inventory includes 15 transporter-erector-launchers and 250-300 Scud-Bs, all of which were bought from North Korea. Special Report No. 6 also concluded that North Korea helped build a "Scud Mod B" (320 km/1000 kg) assembly plant in Iran in 1988, but that the plant apparently never manufactured any missiles.

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