July 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran Expands Ballistic Missile Facilities as NATO Meets in Washington

July 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran Expands Ballistic Missile Facilities as NATO Meets in Washington

Latest Developments

In another indication of Iran’s increasingly aggressive stance, Reuters reported on July 7 on satellite images showing that Tehran has expanded two facilities to increase the production of ballistic missiles. Taken by the commercial satellite firm Planet Labs, the images revealed 30 new buildings at the Modarres military base and Khojir missile production complex. Both sites are overseen by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and produce Iran’s short- and medium-range weapons as well as rockets for the IRGC’s space program. Three Iranian officials confirmed to Reuters that the expansion was to boost conventional ballistic missile production, with one official adding that some of the buildings could also be used to increase drone production. The images were published as NATO member states began a three-day summit in Washington on July 9, marking the military alliance’s 75th anniversary, and focused on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Expert Analysis

“Tehran continues to demonstrate why it has remained the home of the largest ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East for nearly two decades and counting. Iran-backed proxies, as well as the IRGC — a U.S.-designated terrorist organization — employ these projectiles in multiple conflict zones throughout the Middle East. But lest NATO and the West believe this is just a regional problem, Iran is reportedly ready to supply Russia with ballistic missiles for use in Putin’s war against Ukraine. With Tehran testing, transferring, and even using these weapons more than at any point in its history, it’s no wonder that its missile factories are working overtime.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

“Iran continues to accelerate development of its already largest missile force in the Middle East, presumably with Russian support. This is a threat to the United States and all allies facing the threat of Iranian missile proliferation.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Iranian Military Support for Terrorist Proxies and Russia

Iran’s new president, Masoud Pezeshkian, reaffirmed on July 8 that Iran will continue to support the “resistance” against the “illegitimate Zionist regime.” Iran is the primary purveyor of drone and missile technology to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and numerous other militias in Iraq and Syria. Since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Tehran has provided hundreds of drones to Moscow while seeking advanced military equipment in return. In mid-2022, Iran exported the Shahed-131 (also known as “Geran-1”) kamikaze drones and Shahed-136 (“Geran-2”) suicide drones to Russia for use against Ukraine. Russia ramped up efforts in August 2023 to domestically produce about 6,000 Geran-2 drones and outmatch Iranian capacity by 2025, in coordination with Iran. In February, Reuters reported six Iranian sources saying that Iran sent Russia a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, though these have yet to be seen on the battlefield.

Israeli Foreign Minister to Warn NATO of Iranian Threat

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who is attending the NATO summit, told Israeli media that he plans to highlight Iran’s threat to Israel, Ukraine, and other NATO members. “The Iranian drones and missiles that are attacking Ukraine and threatening Europe are the same Iranian drones and missiles that tried to hit Israel on April 14. We have a common enemy and that is the Iranian regime,” Katz said.

Arsenal: Assessing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program,” by Behnam Ben Taleblu

Iranian Ballistic Missile Tests Since the Nuclear Deal,” by Behnam Ben Taleblu

Russia and Iran Agree to Deepen Security Ties,” FDD Flash Brief


International Organizations Iran Iran Missiles Iran Politics and Economy Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power Russia Ukraine