Iran is heading forward with its efforts of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons over long distances.
Even though the move violates international prohibitions, Iran "would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons," the director of national intelligence informed Congress this week.
The revelation arrives few days after Iranian leaders announced the upcoming launch of two new domestically produced satellites. "Iran has long used its space program as cover for illicit missile work, as the know-how required to launch such equipment can be applied to long-range ballistic missile technology," The Washington Free Beacon reported Friday.
“Iran's ballistic missile work continues unimpeded and could be used by the country to launch a nuclear weapon,” Daniel Coats, America's top spymaster, informed Congress this week, as mentioned in unclassified testimony.
Iran makes progress in major research and development of nuclear missiles, even though it had signed agreement with Western powers, the last US intelligence assessments state. Iranian military leaders claim their missile work is unrelated to the nuclear agreement and permissible under it.
The US intelligence community maintains that Iran which has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East is likely would use this technology to launch a nuclear weapon.
"Iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering weapon of mass destruction, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East," Coats wrote, referring to Iran's covert missile work.
Iran "continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats—including against US allies in the region," Coats testified.
This includes cyber attacks "directly against the United States," such as in 2013, when an Iranian hacker penetrated the computer systems of a US dam.
Iran is developing a range of new military capabilities to monitor and target US and allied military assets in the region, including armed UAVs drones, ballistic missiles, advanced naval mines, unmanned explosive boats, submarines and advanced torpedoes, and anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles.