Zolfaghar

The Zolfaghar is an Iranian short-range solid fuel ballistic missile in the Fateh family. Unveiled in 2016 by Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, the missile has a reported range of 700 km. In June 2017, the missile was reportedly used to strike targets in Syria.

Zolfaghar at a Glance

Originated from: Iran
Possessed by: Iran
Class: Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)
Warhead: High explosive (HE), submunitions
Propulsion: Single-stage solid propellant
Range: 700 km
Status: Operational
In service: 2017-present

zolfaghar

Development

On September 25, 2016, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan announced that Iran’s new Zolfaghar ballistic missile, a member of the Fateh family, has a reported range of 700 km.1 The newest member of a group of solid-fueled short-range ballistic missiles, Iran claims that Zolfaghar is equipped with a submunition warhead.2 The Iranian Ministry of Defense released a video allegedly showing the Zolfaghar being fired and hitting a small target. The authenticity of the video has not been verified.3 The Zolfaghar may be an evolution of the previously reported Fateh-313, which was unveiled in 2015 but has not been mentioned since then.

Operational Use

On June 18, 2017, Iran reportedly launched six Zolfaghar missiles into Syria towards the Deir ez-Zor region.4 Reports citing the IRGC suggest that the missiles were fired from bases in the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan and flew over 600 km before reportedly hitting their targets. The missiles targeted Islamic State militants in response to an attack in Tehran on June 7. The strike was the longest-range missile launched by Iran in combat since its war with Iraq in the 1980s. IRGC officials said the strike not only sent a message to the Islamic State, but also that, “The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message.”5 Some reports also point to a mix of missiles being used in the strike, including the Qiam, a Shahab-2 variant.6

Sources

  1. Jeremy Binnie, “Iran Claims Zolfaghar Missile Has 700 km Range”, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, 28 September 2016, http://www.janes.com/article/64149/iran-claims-zolfaghar-missile-has-700-km-range.
  2. Sky News, “Iran shows Off its Missiles in Display of Strength”, 21 September 2016, http://news.sky.com/story/iran-says-it-will-bolster-its-defences-after-new-usisrael-deal-10587128.
  3. Jeremy Binnie, “Iran Claims Zolfaghar Missile Has 700 km Range”, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, 28 September 2016, http://www.janes.com/article/64149/iran-claims-zolfaghar-missile-has-700-km-range.
  4. Artemis Moshtaghian, “Iran launches missiles into eastern Syria, targets ISIS,” CNN, June 19, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/18/middleeast/iran-launches-missiles-into-syria/index.html.
  5. Nasser Karimi and Jon Gambrell, “Iran calls missile attack on Syria militants a wider warning,” Washington Post, June 19, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/irans-revolutionary-guard-strikes-syria-for-tehran-attacks/2017/06/18/0c764970-549f-11e7-840b-512026319da7_story.html?utm_term=.1292521a9320.
  6. Judah Ari Gross, “In Iranian strike on IS, the missile is the message,” Times of Israel, June 19, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-iranian-strike-on-is-the-missile-is-the-message/.
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