May, Israel, a non-signatory to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons NPTis regarded as the first and only country in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons. Israel has also made extensive efforts to deny other regional actors the ability to acquire nuclear weapons, most prominently in the air strikes against Iraq's Osiraq Reactor in and Syria's suspected reactor near Al-Kibar in
In springthe E3 urged the EU to impose sanctions on Iran because of its ballistic missile tests and role in backing the Syrian Government. This is hardly surprising. Missiles serve as a counter to the overwhelming military capabilities of regional rivals notably Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In contrast, Iran—whose aging air force mostly dates back to before the Islamic Revolution—has sought to maximize self-sufficiency in the production of ballistic missiles. The threat of attack was particularly highlighted with the escalation of the nuclear crisis in —12, as Israel and the USA threatened military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.
To ensure deterrence, Iran is likely to continue testing its missiles to improve accuracy and to ensure an ability overcome missile defences, which have been deployed in increasing numbers by the Gulf Arab states and Israel.
Yet, Iran has recently shown restraint on its medium-range missile testing, with the last confirmed test occurring in January However, Iran has test-fired short-range ballistic missiles as part of military exercises and responded to terrorist attacks on its soil by launching missiles to Syria.
This is because Iran has already set a kilometre range limit on its ballistic missiles. When it comes to range, Iran thus regards its existing ballistic missile arsenal as sufficient for regional deterrence.
The first step in addressing concerns surrounding the possibility of an Iranian ICBM would be to simply take note of this self-imposed limit. The regional dimensions While additional assurances on range limits could put an end to speculation about an Iranian ICBM, they would not address the regional dimension, which has received unprecedented attention in the past two years.
Hook also accused Iran of supplying missiles to its proxies. A UN panel in January found that Iran failed to prevent the direct or indirect supply of missiles and related equipment to Yemeni Houthi rebels, in non-compliance with the arms embargo imposed by UN Security Council Resolution Similar logic can be seen to explain recent Iranian transfers of short-range missiles to Iraq.
The latter policy seems to be aimed at providing an additional layer of deterrence, reflecting increased concerns over a potential US-Iranian military confrontation.
The need for regional arms control and security dialogue The complex problems in the Middle East make banning one weapon system in the hands of one actor an ineffective solution.
Rather, the underlying conflict dynamics should be addressed as part of a comprehensive arms control and regional security process. While any dialogue including all Middle Eastern countries—let alone the longer-term objective of a regional security mechanism—might sound overly ambitious, attempts towards such a process are not without precedents.
While the ACRS talks eventually collapsed due to Egyptian—Israeli disagreements over nuclear disarmament, they made progress in the area of confidence-building measures. More recently, Middle Eastern states—including Iran—were at the same table in —14, as part of the informal consultations aiming at a conference on the establishment of a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the region.
Although those plans came to nought, the multilateral consultations alone—which were reportedly carried out in constructive spirit—were a historic achievement.
It could be added that—prior to the election of President Trump in —the Gulf Arab states and Iran had reportedly explored the possibility of starting a dialogue concerning Persian Gulf security.
The current Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has repeatedly highlighted the need for such a dialogue. Although the codification of existing limits as part of a mutually beneficial agreement—such as the above-mentioned idea of space cooperation—seems unrealistic in the current political context, the idea might be worth exploring as a basis for future cooperation.
Regarding regional concerns, one must distinguish between missile testing and missile exports.Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies Congressional Research Service Summary Iran’s national security policy is the product of many overlapping and sometimes competing. In return for this silence, plus a pledge of restraint on certain nuclear development activities, the United States has reportedly agreed in writing not to pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or get rid of its nuclear arsenal.
Netanyahu said a secret nuclear warehouse inside Tehran contained tons of nuclear-related material and demanded the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) immediately examined the evidence Israel has in its possession.
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Iran responded that its nuclear activities were peaceful and that Security Council involvement was malicious and unlawful. In Research and development in nuclear weapons until its own nuclear program began development, Iran had consistently supported the creation of a nuclear-weapons free zone in the Middle East.
The United States itself maintains a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, which it has supplemented in recent years with the deployment of a new type of weapon: the earth-penetrating or “bunker.