Following talk in Congress of imposing sanctions on Tehran for its ballistic-missile program, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced a decision to restrict the program to weapons with a range of no more than 2,000 kilometers. The move seemed like a preemptive concession, but, Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu explain, it is merely a ruse:
According to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the regime can already “strike targets up to 2,000 kilometers from Iran’s borders,” a range sufficient to hit both U.S. military bases in the region as well as the entire state of Israel. In other words, the alleged cap on Iran’s ballistic missiles locks in the threat rather than rolling it back, while doing nothing to curtail the wide range of activities Iran is undertaking to improve its missile force. . . .
Neither the Trump administration nor Congress should take solace in Iran’s promise to cap its ballistic missiles at 2,000 kilometers. If anything, this declaration is an attempt by Tehran to overvalue something for which it has no immediate need—what are called intermediate-range ballistic missiles—in the hopes of forestalling coercive economic measures against its ballistic-missile program. During negotiations that culminated in the 2015 nuclear accord, Iran [likewise] strategically overvalued the few concessions it gave, including [giving up] its unreliable first-generation centrifuges. . . .
Now, by proposing an illusory cap on missile ranges, Iran is looking to dupe the West again. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic is expected to continue improving the quality of its missile force, which . . . constitutes the Middle East’s biggest arsenal.