Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe. For the past decade, Iran has invested significantly to improve these weapons’ precision and lethality. Such developments have made Iran’s missile forces a potent tool for Iranian power projection and a credible threat to U.S. and partner military forces in the region. Iran has not yet tested or deployed a missile capable of striking the United States, but continues to hone longer-range missile technologies under the auspices of its space-launch program.

Iran is also a major hub for weapons proliferation, supplying partner/proxy groups such as Hezbollah and Syria’s al-Assad regime with a steady supply of missiles and rockets, as well as local production capability. Since 2015, Iran has provided Yemen’s Houthi rebels with increasingly advanced ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as long-range unmanned aerial vehicles. Most recently, Iran has been equipping Shiite militia groups in Iraq with rockets and other small projectiles for use against Iraqi and U.S. military and diplomatic facilities.

Missile Types

Koksan M1978
Emad (Shahab-3 Variant)
Shahab 2 (Scud C-Variant)
Ghadr 1 (Shahab-3 Variant)
Tondar 69

Iranian Missile Attacks

In addition to actions taken by its numerous proxy groups, Iran has since 2017 employed its missile forces in combat operations against numerous adversaries across the Middle East.

In June 2017, Iran launched six missiles into eastern Syria targeting Islamic States positions near Deir-Ez Zour in retaliation for Islamic States attacks in Tehran. Iran carried out a similar attack against the Islamic State a year later in October 2018. In September 2018, Iran launched seven Fateh-110 missiles at the alleged headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran and Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in Koya, Iraq.

In September 2019, Iran launched coordinated attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles against Saudi Arabia’s oil faciitlies at Abqaiq and Khurais. Showing a high degree of precision, the attacks temporarily halted production at the Abqaiq oil refinery, which supplies 5-7% of the world’s daily petroleum.

In January 2020, Iran bombarded U.S. troops in Iraq for several hours with as many as 22 ballistic missiles in retribution for the U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani. The attacks damaged U.S. facilities at the Al-Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, and left more than 100 U.S. service personnel with Traumatic Brain Injury. 

iranian missile attacks