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Iranian ICBM Unlikely Before 2016: CRS Analysis

Iran appears unlikely to develop an ICBM capacity within the next three years, according to a U.S. Congressional Research Service analysis issued on Thursday.

"It is increasingly uncertain whether Iran will be able to achieve an ICBM capability by 2015," Reuters quoted the document as saying. Meeting the milestone would probably require greater assistance from partners such as China and Russia, it adds.

The finding seemingly minimizes past U.S. intelligence assertions that an Iranian ICBM trial flight could take place by 2015 if Tehran received "sufficient foreign assistance," according to Reuters.

The report sees no Iranian launch experimentation effort of the type normally thought to be a prerequisite to ICBM assembly. stated CRS antimissile specialist Steven Hildreth, who sought input from seven outside analysts in preparing the assessment.

The document adds that Iran's satellite activities appear to be substantial and not just cover for ICBM research.

A spokesman for the National Intelligence Director's Office said the Defense Department's 2015 assessment had been "heavily caveated."

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