The DOD’s Annual Report on Military Power of Iran

Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News obtained a copy of a Department of Defense report to Congress that has some interesting bits. It begins by saying that “Iran’s grand strategy remains challenging U.S. influence”, which, of course, means refusing to obey orders from Washington. “Iran’s security strategy remains focused on deterring an attack,” it admits—as opposed to being focused on launching any offensives. “Iran’s principles of military strategy remain deterrence” against any U.S./Israeli attack and “asymmetrical retaliation” for any U.S./Israeli attack”.

It repeats the long-propagated but unevidenced claims that Iran has been supporting “Shia militias and terrorist groups” in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the purported aim being to undermine U.S. and NATO objectives. Why would Shia Iran want to undermine the U.S. objective of sustaining the Maliki Shia-dominated government in Iraq? The report doesn’t say, although it does admit that its claim of “support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity”. See, Iran had always supported the Northern Alliance in opposition to the Taliban.

On the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, the report states that “Iran is developing a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to the production of nuclear weapons if the decision is made to do so.” In other words, the development of a civilian nuclear program inherently comes with “technical capabilities” to be able to produce nuclear weapons, but in Iran’s case, there is no evidence of any military aspect to its program. It cites the IAEA’s November 2011 report, claiming that it “provided extensive evidence of past and possibly ongoing Iranian nuclear weapons-related research and development work.” This is a joke. Regarding the claim of past work, the U.S. intelligence community has long assessed that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and the IAEA has said that there is no evidence Iran ever had such a program prior to that year. The claim that the IAEA report provided evidence that Iran currently has a nuclear weapons program is a total farce. I won’t get into it; suffice to say the “evidence” provided has proved to be of the kind that was presented prior to the invasion in 2003 that Iraq had WMD.

The DOD states that “Iran also has developed medium-range ballistic missiles to target Israel”—but only in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran, if we recall the admissions from the beginning of the report.