Iran’s Ballistic Missiles: Capabilities, Intentions, and the Evolving Threat

April 11, 2018
12:00 pm -

Event Video


Introductory Remarks
Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research
Speakers (from left to right): 
Valerie Lincy, Executive Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow
Michael Eisenstadt, Kahn Fellow and Director of the Military and Security Studies Program, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Josh Lederman, Foreign Policy Reporter, The Associated Press

Event Description

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted a lunch conversation, Iran’s Ballistic Missiles: Capabilities, Intentions, and the Evolving Threat, on Wednesday, April 11, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. The expert discussion featured Behnam Ben Taleblu, Research Fellow at FDD; Michael Eisenstadt, Kahn Fellow and Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Valerie Lincy, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control.  Josh Lederman of The Associated Press moderated the conversation.

A recent FDD memo identified as many as 23 ballistic missile launches by the Islamic Republic since the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA does not restrict development of Iran’s ballistic missile program despite the fact that such missiles can be used to deliver nuclear weapons. What is Iran’s attachment to these weapons, and what nuclear and non-nuclear threats do they pose? More importantly, what is — and what should be — U.S. policy?

Iran’s Ballistic Missiles: Capabilities, Intentions, and the Evolving Threat
A conversation with Michael Eisenstadt, Valerie Lincy, and Behnam Ben Taleblu,
moderated by Josh Lederman

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Michael Eisenstadt is the Kahn Fellow and director of The Washington Institute’s Military and Security Studies Program. A specialist in Persian Gulf and Arab-Israeli security affairs, he has published widely on irregular and conventional warfare, and nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East. Prior to joining the Institute in 1989, Mr. Eisenstadt worked as a military analyst with the U.S. government. Mr. Eisenstadt served for twenty-six years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve before retiring in 2010. His military service included active-duty stints in Iraq with the United States Forces-Iraq headquarters (2010) and the Human Terrain System Assessment Team (2008); in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan with the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (2008-2009); at U.S. Central Command headquarters and on the Joint Staff during Operation Enduring Freedom and the planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom (2001-2002); and in Turkey and Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort (1991).

Josh Lederman covers foreign affairs, national security and U.S. diplomacy for The Associated Press (AP), based in Washington. From 2013 to 2017, he was a White House reporter for AP and traveled with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to more than 20 countries. In 2015, Mr. Lederman won the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Merriman Smith award for excellence in presidential news coverage under deadline pressure. He appears frequently on television and radio, including on MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and others. A multimedia journalist from Tucson, Arizona, Mr. Lederman started his journalism career in the AP’s Jerusalem bureau, and later covered Gov. Chris Christie and state politics for the AP in New Jersey. In 2011-2012, Mr. Lederman covered presidential, House and Senate campaigns for The Hill newspaper in Washington.

Valerie Lincy is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. Ms. Lincy leads the organization’s research on weapons of mass destruction supply networks, which is used by governments to support sanctions and counterproliferation actions. Ms. Lincy is a recognized expert on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and international efforts to counter these programs. She is Editor of Iran Watch, a website she created in 2003 to track and analyze Iranian weapons development. The site’s mission is to strengthen public awareness of Iran’s programs of proliferation concern, champion ways to enhance monitoring and verification of Iran’s nuclear program, and provide information regarding the existing and potential WMD threat from Iran. Before joining the Wisconsin Project, Ms. Lincy worked in the Paris bureau of the New York Times and Newsweek and as a researcher in Washington-based non-profit institutes.

Behnam Ben Taleblu is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues. Mr. Taleblu previously served as a Senior Iran Analyst at FDD, and prior to that worked on non-proliferation issues at an arms control think-tank in Washington. Leveraging his subject-matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Mr. Taleblu has closely tracked a wide range of Iran-related topics including: nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and internal Iranian politics. Frequently called upon to brief journalists, congressional staff, and other Washington-audiences, Mr. Taleblu has testified before the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament. His analysis has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters, and he has contributed or co-authored articles for Foreign Affairs, The Hill, War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and U.S. News & World Report.

Event Video


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