The German newspaper Die Welt reports that Iran is building intermediate- range missile launch pads in Venezuela. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards firm, Amir al-Hadschisadeh, is building the launch complex, including missile silos and bunkers on the Paraguaná Peninsula, on the north coast of Venezuela facing America. Miami is about two thousand miles north from the launch site. Iran's Shahab 3 IRBM has a range of a thousand miles, the Shahab 4 1200 miles, and the Shahab 5, under development, more than 4000 miles. Washington, DC and New York City are about 3000 miles from the launch site.
The Shahab missiles were based on North Korean missile designs which were, in turn, based on Soviet designs.
Cash-poor Iran is paying for initial construction costs itself, running into tens of millions of dollars. Die Welt claims there is a secret agreement between Iran and Venezuela in which Venezuela would launch its missiles should Iran come under attack. In other words, if America and its allies attack Iran's nuclear bomb facilities it wants Venezuela to attack America and its allies in the Western hemisphere.
I suspect much of this is posturing for domestic constituencies of the mad mullahs and Hugo Chavez. The threat is more scarecrow than real. The Iranians are not a particularly competent culture. It seems unlikely that their missiles will be reliable, particularly when they have not been tested at their extreme range.
Likewise, Hugo Chavez has not established a competent regime. The only competent professionals in Venezuela run the oil business there. The government is composed of corrupt cronies of Chavez who have made it their business to plunder their local oil units, bankrupting them and chasing their staff out of the country. It seems unlikely that Venezuela retains the technical and professional expertise to staff a missile complex.
One is amused by the recklessness of Iran and Venezuela who would threaten the American mainland with missiles of dubious capability. It's hard to believe they think they would win a missile exchange with the US. And really, missile silos in ill-defended undeveloped countries are perfect targets for B-2 bombers. Our pilots could take these missile sites out and still be home in time to pick up the kids from school.
Hat tip to Hot Air