This annotated chronology is based on the data sources that follow each entry. Public sources often provide conflicting information on classified military programs. In some cases we are unable to resolve these discrepancies, in others we have deliberately refrained from doing so to highlight the potential influence of false or misleading information as it appeared over time. In many cases, we are unable to independently verify claims. Hence in reviewing this chronology, readers should take into account the credibility of the sources employed here.
Inclusion in this chronology does not necessarily indicate that a particular development is of direct or indirect proliferation significance. Some entries provide international or domestic context for technological development and national policymaking. Moreover, some entries may refer to developments with positive consequences for nonproliferation.
11 January 2005
Iranian-born Mohammed Farahbakhsh of Los Angeles has been arraigned on Federal charges of illegally sending pressure sensors and other equipment to the United Arab Emirates, allegedly for transshipment to Iran in support of its missile program. Computer files revealed prior deliveries to Iran’s Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, a company already sanctioned twice by the United States for its involvement in missile technology development.
––”Man Accused of Smuggling Goods for Iran,”? Associated Press, 12 January 2005.
18 January 2005
The United States has imposed penalties against eight Chinese companies for assisting Iran’s ballistic missile program. Although the nature of the technology exported has been kept classified, U.S. officials have referred to several of the penalized companies in the past as “serial proliferators.”? The companies affected include China Great Wall Industry Corporation and China North Industry Corporation (Norinco), both of which are closely related to the Chinese military. Another, the China Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), ranks as one of China’s largest military aircraft producers.
––David E. Sanger, “U.S. Punishes 8 Chinese Firms for Aiding Iran,”? New York Times, 18 January 2005.
28 January 2005
Two anti-ship missiles identified as the JJ/TL-6B, JJ/TL-10A and KJ/TL-10B, and designed by China for Iran, were displayed at the China Air Show in November 2004. Knowledgeable sources affirm that the missiles are identical to Iran’s Nasr and Kosar, also known as the TL-6 and TL-10. Jane’s Defense Weekly states that the FL-8 and FL-9 also represent previous designations for these missiles.
––”China Reported to Start Marketing of Missiles Designed for Iran,”? Middle East Newsline, 28 January 2005.
2 February 2005
Ukrainian Parliament Member Hrihory Omelchenko has called for an investigation into the sale of purported nuclear capable cruise missile to Iran and China.
––”Cruise Missiles Sold to Iran and China,”? The Independent, 3 February 2005.
5 February 2005
Iranian Defense Minister Shamkhani attributes allegations of Iranian production of 3,000 km range missiles to Zionist propaganda, asserting it is “fabricated and is false.”?
––”Defense Minister Denies Reports on Iran Producing 3,000 km Range Missiles,”? Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2, 5 February 2005.
2 February 2005
Ukrainian Parliament member Hrihory Omelchenko claims that 12 Kh-55 [U.S. nomenclature is AS-15] air-to-ground missiles were exported between 1999 and 2001, half to Iran and half to China. These cruise missiles boast a highly accurate guidance system and a range of up to 3,000 km, putting Israel within striking distance of Iran. A former Ukrainian secret police (SBU) officer, Omelchenko says the SBU prevented an attempt to export 14 KH-55s last year and accused former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of covering up the illicit arms sale.
–Tom Warner, “Ukraine ‘Sold Cruise Missiles to Iran, China’,” Financial Times, 3 February 2005.
8 March 2005
Peter Pry, a senior Congressional Commission member, has testified that Shahab-3 test flights deemed successful by Iran, despite the occurrence of in-flight explosions, may indicate that Tehran is developing an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warhead.
–“Shahab Break-Ups Suggest Possible EMP Trial,” Jane’s, 1 May 2005.
10 March 2005
Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker has testified that China continues “unacceptable proliferant activity” – of particular concern are “transfers of CBW and missile-related technology” to Iran, despite sanctions. Q.C. Chen and Norinco have been identified as key suppliers, to include dual-use components, raw materials and expertise for Iran’s solid-fuel missile program, and dual-use technology.
–“U.S. Catches China Transferring WMD Tech to Iran,” World Tribune.com, 15 March 2005.
17 March 2005
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office states that 18 Kh-55 missiles were smuggled to Iran and China during the Kuchma administration. The probe into the illegal sales has resulted in the indictment or arrest of at least six arms dealers. Member of Parliament Omelchenko asserts that a Russian, Oleg Orlov, and a Ukrainian known as E.V. Shilenko arranged the deal in 2000 by using a “fake contract and end-user certificate” and exported the missiles through Russia’s national arms dealer and an arm of Ukraine’s weapons exporting agency, UkrSpetsEksport. President Yushchenko has called for an investigation into the matter.
–“U.S. Catches China Transferring WMD Tech to Iran,” World Tribune.com, 18 March 2005.
31 March 2005
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confirms that Iran acquired nuclear-capable missiles from Ukraine under the previous administration. He adds that the missiles were delivered unarmed using a forged contract listing Russia as the final destination. Oleksandr Turchinov, Ukraine’s top security official, says that the investigation into the affair is complete and that the court is to announce its ruling “in a few days.”
–“Report: Iran Has Bought Nuclear-Capable Missiles From Ukraine,” Haaretz, 1 April 2005; “Security Chief Says Missile Smuggling Case Solved,” Kyiv Post, 1 April 2005.
6 April 2005
A Washington Times report reveals that Iran paid $49.5 million for the six Kh-55 missiles it received in an air shipment from Ukraine between May and June 2001. The shipments had been misleadingly identified as oil-pipeline material.
–Bill Gertz, “Missiles Sold to China and Iran,” Washington Times, 6 April 2005.
10 April 2005
Iranian government spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi denies that Iran concluded any missile deal such as that recently alleged by Ukrainian officials.
–“Iran Denies Ukraine Delivered Cruise Missiles,” Agence France-Presse, 11 April 2005.
25 April 2005
German customs investigations into the export of a highly specialized crane to Iran indicate that the crane was “probably intended for a highly controversial Iranian missile program.” The mobile crane was ordered last year by Mizan, an Iranian firm, at a cost of 600,000 euros. The order was ship-loaded on 7 April and is on its way to Tehran. The crane is produced in Germany by the Liebherr company; it has a load-bearing capacity of 100 metric tons and lifts as high as 72 meters.
–Holger Stark, “German Crane Bound for Iran Intended for Missile Program,” Der Spiegel, 25 April 2005, p. 47.
28 April 2005
Export chief of the German company Tira is arrested for reportedly providing Iran with vibration test machines to test missile turbines.
–“More on German Company Reportedly Delivering High-Tech Products to Iran,” Munich Focus, 2 May 2005, pg 13, in FBIS Document EUP20050503085013.
30 April 2005
Der Spiegel and Focus magazines report that German company Tira is suspected of delivering rocket building technology to Iran as far back as 2002. A manager of Tira, only identified as Peter K., was detained and released as part of the federal investigation. The magazines also say, “deliveries were intercepted by the intelligence agents of an ally in late 2004 in Dubai.”
–“German Company Sold Missile Technology to Iran,” Associated Press, 1 May 2005.
5 May 2005
Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani has stated that Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles are comprised entirely of local parts and are of Iranian design, and that production is ongoing.
–“Iran Says Shahab-3 Missile Entirely Iranian,” Agence France-Presse, 5 May 2005.
5 May 2005
Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announces, “The Shahab-3 missile is entirely Iranian and has been designed by the domestic specialist.”
–“Iran Says Shahab-3 Missile Entirely Iranian,” Agence France Presse, 5 May 2005.
15 May 2005
Former head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Ihor Smeshko, says Ukrainian head of State Viktor Yushchenki and former President Leonid Kuchma have nothing to do with the X-55 missile smuggling to Iran.
–“Former Ukrainian Security Chief Says President Not Involved in Missile Scandal,” Kiev Interfax, 15 May 2005, in FBIS Document CEP20050515027086.
20 May 2005
Iranian exile Allreza Jafarzadeth says Iran’s Defense Ministry is smuggling graphite and graphite compounds, such as ceramic matrix composite (CMC). CMC can be used to encase a nuclear warhead and manufacture missile warheads. Mr. Jafarzadeth added that a purported steel manufacturing plant near Ardekan is actually a graphite technology plant. Although CMC is a dual-use item, international trading of CMC is prohibited for use in nuclear weapons under the Missile Technology Control Regime.
–Tyler Marshall and Sonni Efron, “Iran Said to Smuggle Material for Warheads,” Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2005; “Iran Reportedly Smuggling Nuclear-Related Materials,” Global Security Newswire, 23 May 05.
21 May 2005
Ambassador to Russia, Gholamreza Shafe’i says Iran may buy S-300 surface to air missile systems from Russia.
–“Program Summary: Moscow NTV News Russian 1500 21 May 05,” Moscow NTV, 23 May 2005, in FBIS Document IAP2005052301002.
31 May 2005
Iran announces a new solid fuel missile motor was successfully tested. The technological breakthrough will increase accuracy and be built into Shahab-3 missiles, says Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani. Mr. Shamkhani denies Iran also tested a two stage rocket motor.
–Stefan Smith, “Iran Makes Ballistic Missile Breakthrough,” Middle East Online, 31 May 2005.
31 May 2005
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the United States and its allies have successfully intercepted 11 shipments of nuclear materials destined for Iran and North Korea in the past nine months. “I’ve cited several cases involving countries of proliferation concern, including Iran,” Mr. Boucher adds. “PSI [Proliferation Security Initiative] partners, working at times with others, have prevented Iran from procuring goods to support its missile and WMD [weapons of mass destruction] programs, including its nuclear program,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says in a speech marking the second anniversary of the PSI.
— “U.S. Says it Intercepted Nuclear Material for North Korea, Iran,” Bloomberg, 1 June 2005; “ROK’s Yonhap: U.S. Intercepts Nuclear, Chemical Materials to N. Korea,” Yonhap News Agency, 1 June 2005, in FBIS Document KPP20050601000029.
31 May 2005
Iran’s Minister of Defense, Ali Shamkhani, announces that the new two-stage solid propellant engine will be installed on the Shahab-3. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense says Minister Shamkhani misspoke when he said the new missile consisted of two stages, referring instead to the booster and main propulsion source.
— “Russian Report on Iranian Two-Stage Missile Development, Official Denial,” Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, 10 June 2005, in FBIS Document CEP20050610949011.
8 June 2005
Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani insists the solid fuel variant of the Shahab-3 missiles are for defensive purposes only. “The missile is of purely defensive nature. Our strategy rests upon the principles of maintaining our defensive capabilities,” Shamkhani adds.
— “Iranian Defense Minister: Shehab 3 Missile – Defense Weapon,” RIA novosti, 8 June 2005.
27 June 2005
The United States claims China has provided Iran with weapons of mass destruction components and technical expertise. Items include dual-use missile components, raw materials, and chemical weapons related equipment.
–“China Supplies Arms to Iran, Sudan,” Middle East Newsline, 27 June 2005.
28 June 2005
Japan urges Ukraine to investigate the alleged smuggling of missiles, from Ukraine to Iran, capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Tokyo claims the missiles may have been sold to North Korea.
–“Call on Probe Alleged Cruise Missile Sales to Iran,” Iran Mania, 5 July 2005.
29 June 2005
U.S. President George Bush issues an executive order “freezing all US assets of eight organizations in Iran, North Korea and Syria deemed to be involved in weapons proliferation, including the Iranian government’s Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).” The order will also be used to prevent other countries from engaging in business with those identified as proliferators.
–“Sanctions Threat Over Iran Nuclear Programme,” Financial Times, 1 July 2005.
4 July 2005
Russian daily Kommersant reports that Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned arms selling agency, is negotiating a contract to upgrade three Iranian submarines with Club-S missile systems.
–“Paper: Iran in Talks to Refurbish Subs,” Moscow Times, 5 July 2005.
28 July 2005
Iran’s Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announces that Iran is self sufficient in producing solid fuel.
â”€ “DM Shamkhani Announces Iran Self-Sufficient in Producing Solid Fuel,”? Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, 28 July 2005, in FBIS Document IAP2005072011001.
1 August 2005
According to Kanwa Defense Review, the China Shipping and Trading Company (CSTC) plans to sell Iran 10 “China-Cat”? missile boats, which could be modified with the Iranian indigenous TL-10 or NOOR (C802) serial anti-ship missile system. Kanwa also reports that China has transferred the army version HQ7 air defense missile and that Iran has started production of the C802 land-to-sip missile, also known as Nur (NOOR). [Note: The first reference to the Nur SSM was during the Vahadat-79 (Unity-79) naval exercises in the Persian Gulf beginning on 29 October 2000. In December 2000, Iranian Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Vice Admiral Ali Shamkhani said that local defense industry would soon be ready to begin production of the “Nur”? surface-to-surface missile. It is not clear what the specifications are for the Nur missile.]
â”€”Kanwa: China Exports OPVs to Thailand, Iran; Iran’s Plan Described,”? Kanwa Defense Review, 1 August 2005, in FBIS Document CPP20050803000124.
9 August 2005
Iran’s Defense Minister, Ali Shamkhani, says Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles “are now accurate to within one meter of their target.”? Iranian General Ahmad Vahid adds that the missiles’ range has also been boosted from 1,300 kilometers to 2,000 kilometers.
â”€”Military Attacks Cannot Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Expertise: Defense Minister,”? Tehran Times, 10 August 2005; “Iran Would Rather be Hit by Sanctions than Back Down Over Nuclear Program,”? Associated Press, 9 August 2005.
27 August 2005
Alireza Jafarzadeh, a member of the Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, alleges that Iran is close to mastering long-range cruise missile technology capable of 3,000 kilometers by copying Ukrainian missies.
–“Iranian Website Dismisses MKO Missile Claim as ‘Baseless’ Allegation,” Tehran Baztab, 27 August 2005, in FBIS Document IAP20050830011035.
29 August 2005
Former representative of Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, Alireza Jafarzadeh, alleges that Iran’s revolutionary guard commander secretly met with A.Q. Khan to “acquire nuclear-capable missiles with a range of 1,800 miles.” Mr. Jafarzadeh also claims Mohammad Reza Ayatollahi, then deputy director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEO), and Seyyed Mohammad Haj Saeed, chief of the Directorate of Research of the AEO, met with A.Q. Khan.
–“Iran’s Nuke Missiles” UPI, 29 August 2005.
30 August 2005
Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar says Iran’s main military objectives are the development of its air defenses and ballistic missiles, therefore Iran will continue expanding its missile industry to meet the needs of the military. “One of the major projects pursued by this ministry concerns the manufacturing of deterrent weapons, and the manufacturing of Shahab-3 Missile is in this connection, and this will not be halted.” Najar adds.
–“Iran Defense Minister: Non-Peaceful use of Nuke Technology Religiously Forbidden,” Mehr, 30 August 2005, in FBIS Document IAP20050830011035; “Iran’s new Defense Minister Reiterates Right to Nuclear, Missile Technology,” Iranian Student News Agency, 30 August 2005, in FBIS Document IAP20050830011034.
16 October 2005
The British newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, reports that former members of the Russian military are secretly assisting Iran with its missile technology. The newspaper alleges top secret missile technology developed in North Korea has been smuggled to Iran with Russian help.
–Con Coughlin, “Russians Help Iran with Missile Threat to Europe,” Sunday Telegraph, 16 October 2005.
17 October 2005
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denies his country is secretly providing Iran with missile technology. Minister Lavrov states, “Similar reports appeared about 10 years ago…the Russian government dealt with each case. I have not heard of any similar problems since then.” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov adds that the rumors are “nonsense”.
–“Russian Foreign Minister Surprised by Reports of Missile Technology Sharing with Iran,” RIA-Novosti, 17 October 2005; “Moscow Denies Russian Role in Alleged Iran Missile Deal,” Agence France Presse, 17 October 2005.
5 November 2005
The German news magazine Focus alleges that Iran is acquiring German missile technology via Moscow-based front companies. German missile technology is been sold in a completely legitimate fashion to Russian enterprises and research institutes acting as middlemen for Iran and Syria. Allegedly, the list of indirect transfers to Iran includes measuring devices, propulsion systems and guidance systems that could be used to enhance the Iranian Shahab-3 medium-range missile.
–“Russians Steal German Technology for Iranian, Syrian Missiles: Report,” Agence France-Presse, 7 November 2005; “Syria and Iran Obtain German Missile Technology, Magazine Says,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 5 November 2005.
16 November 2005
Head of Iran’s Space Agency, Ahmad Talebzadeh talking to reporters on the threshold of World Space Week to be held from 28 Aban to 4 Azar, [19-25 November] says Iran plans to launch into orbit five satellites, including Mesbah, Zohreh, and Sina during the fourth five year economic development plan. He indicates that these satellites will be launched and designed with Chinese and Russian assistance.
–“Iran to Launch Five Satellites by the End of Fourth Plan-Agency,” BBC, 16 November 2005.
28 November 2005
The German magazine Der Spiegel alleges that a high-ranking Iranian emissary traveled to North Korea and offered economic to Pyongyang aid in exchange for helping Tehran build nuclear missiles.
–“Tehran Lends Pyongyang a Helping Hand,” SPIEGEL, 28 November 2005.
30 November 2005
Iranian space official Mohammad Reza Movaseghinia says Tehran must move forward with its space and satellite program before restrictions, preventing them from acquiring the necessary technology, are imposed. “The moment they feel Iran has made a breakthrough, they will impose restrictions more than those they have imposed on Iran’s nuclear program…We have to move quickly and achieve our goals in space. Otherwise, we will face political, economic and security threats,” adds Mr. Movaseghinia.
–Ali Akbar Dareini, “Iran Trying to Bolster Space Program,” Associated Press, 30 November 2005.
30 November 2005
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw accuses Iran of developing long-range missiles. “The fact that the government of Iran is developing longer range missiles is incontrovertible. Whether they are using their nuclear power program to develop nuclear weapons is not yet incontrovertible,” adds Secretary Straw.
–“Iran Developing Long-Range Missiles, Claims Straw,” Financial Times, 30 November 2005; “Iran-Nuclear: Britain Certain Iran Developing Long-Range Weapons,” National Council of Resistance of Iran, 30 November 2005.
5 December 2005
Russian deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Ivanov officially confirms the sale of approximately 29 to 30 mobile Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missile complexes to Iran as part of multi-million dollar arms deal. He adds that the Tor surface-to-air are, “a means of medium range air defence and are an exclusively 100 per cent defense armament, that cannot in principle strike on land targets.”
–“Russian Defence Minister Admits Deliveries of Anti-Aircraft Complexes to Iran,” BBC, 5 December 2005; “Ivanov: Sale of surface-to-air missile systems to Iran perfectly legal,” Islamic Republic News Agency, 6 December 2005.
12 December 2005
Iran successfully tests the silkworm surface-to-sea missile with a range of 110 kilometers (68 miles) as part of their biggest military maneuvers in national waters, in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean.
–“Iran tests surface-to-sea missiles,” Associated Press, 12 December 2005.
16 December 2005
The European Union formally protests Russia’s sale of the Tor-M1 surface-to-air missiles to Iran. The EU protest follows Washington’s concerns over the decision taken by Russia to sell Iran these anti-aircraft missile systems, highlighting the U.S.-Russian tensions over Iran. The formal protest by the EU is significant for it comes at a time when the normally cautious bloc is trying to woo Russia as a strategic and economic partner.
–George Jahn, “EU assails Russian missile sale to Iran,” Boston Globe, 16 December 2005; “U.S. concerned over sale of Russian missiles to Iran,” RIA-Novosti, 15 December 2005.