January 24, 2018 | Memo

Iranian Ballistic Missile Tests Since the Nuclear Deal – 2.0

FDD Research Memo

Read the full memo here

Executive Summary

  • The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) has identified as many as 23 ballistic missile launches by Iran since the conclusion of the July 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • This calculation is the result of a comprehensive review of open-source material in both Persian and English, building on a February 2017 review by FDD which was the first of its kind.
  • Such an assessment is necessary because of the limited U.S. and UN reporting on Tehran’s post-deal missile launches. A reliable count of launches remains essential for assessing both the Iranian missile threat as well as Tehran’s compliance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
  • Iran has apparently launched only one medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) since February 2017. Between July 2015 and February 2017, Iran launched as many as nine MRBMs, more than any other type of missile tested. All of Iran’s MRBMs are nuclear-capable, and can strike U.S. bases and partners in the region when fired from Iranian territory.


Since the conclusion of the JCPOA, Iran has launched as many as 23 ballistic missiles. This number is based on aggregated open-source reporting, since neither the U.S. government nor the UN have issued an official statement on the total number of post-deal missile launches. Although the JCPOA did not itself impose any restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles – which past and present U.S. Directors of National Intelligence (DNI) have assessed to be Iran’s most likely delivery vehicle for a nuclear weapon – UNSCR 2231, which codifies the JCPOA, contains prohibitions on the testing and transfer of these munitions. This memo builds on an earlier FDD product from February 2017, which determined that Iran conducted 14 post-JCPOA launches. FDD was the first organization to provide a number explicitly for post-deal launches, contributing to the public debate over Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities and intentions. Like the previous memo, this document explains how FDD determined the number of missile tests and explores the implications.

Read the full memo here