WASHINGTON — With much of the world’s attention focused on stalled efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, a top U.S. commander is warning of an ever-growing capabilities of Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal.
U.S. Central Command’s General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie told lawmakers that Iran now has about 3,000 ballistic missiles, capable of hitting the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
McKenzie said over the last five to seven years, Iran has invested heavily in its ballistic missile program.
“Their missiles have significantly greater range and significantly enhanced accuracy,” he added, describing the advancement of Iran’s missile program as “remarkable.”
McKenzie further warned that Tehran has made major progress in developing increasingly capable long-range drones, and with its efforts to develop land-attack cruise missiles, designed to hit predetermined fixed or mobile ground-based targets.
The remarks by the general in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East come just days after a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles hit the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, destroying at least two training centers of the occupying regime of Israel.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed the attack, saying the targets were Israeli “strategic centers”.
McKenzie declined to say what Iran was aiming for but told lawmakers, “We do not believe the attack of this last weekend, the ballistic missiles, was actually targeted against us.”
Still, McKenzie said that Iran continues to see Iraq as the primary battleground for its efforts to oust the U.S. from the Middle East.
“That’s we’re the most distributed, the most vulnerable,” McKenzie said.