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Sanctions, sabotage, science delay Iran's missile program

Experts say Iran’s missile program should not be an impediment to a comprehensive nuclear deal, but that Iran should be encouraged to keep its pledges not to build long-range ballistic missiles.
An Iranian long-range shore-to-sea missile called Qader (Capable) is launched during Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman's shore near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Jamejamonline/Ebrahim Norouzi/Handout (IRA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTR2VTE1

While attention has focused on curbing Iran’s ability to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon, sanctions, sabotage, technical problems and political calculation have combined to set back Iran’s development of missiles that could potentially deliver such a weapon.

Michael Elleman, an expert on missiles at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor in an interview Dec. 16 that the Iranians are “a little bit behind where I thought they would be” in developing missiles with a range beyond 1,500 kilometers (932 miles), and have focused instead on trying to improve the accuracy and lethality of systems with a range of less than 250 kilometers (155 miles).

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