According to Bloomberg Business:
Iran continues to develop technologies that “could be applicable to nuclear weapons,” including ballistic missiles, at the same time it’s working to complete a deal to curb its nuclear program, the U.S. Defense Department said.
Iran has “fulfilled its obligations” under the Joint Plan of Action reached with the U.S. and five other world powers and has “paused progress” in parts of its nuclear program, according to an unclassified summary from a Pentagon assessment of Iran’s military capability.
“Covert activities appear to be continuing unabated” as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps remains a key tool of Iran’s foreign policy and power projection, “particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen,” the Pentagon report found.
According to the assessment, Iran’s military doctrine is primarily defensive, intended to insulate the regime “from the consequence of Tehran’s more aggressive policies, such as use of covert action and terrorism, rather than as a means to project Iranian power.” “The ongoing civil war in Syria and the instability in Iraq have tested, but not fundamentally altered, this posture,” it said.
Iran also continues to develop its capabilities to control the Strait of Hormuz -- the No. 1 global choke point for oil transit -- and avenues of approach in the event of a military conflict.
It’s “quietly fielding increasingly lethal weapon systems, including more advanced naval mines, small but capable submarines, armed unmanned aerial vehicles, coastal defense cruise missile batteries, attack craft, and antiship-capable missiles,” the Pentagon said.COMMENTARY: The 2015 unclassified summary is said to read much like last year’s, which can be accessed HERE.
It should be noted that Iranian military assistance to Iraq in the war against ISIL can not be considered “covert,’ with so much publicity provided towards IRGC-QF Commander Soleimani appearing in a military context inside Iraq, as well as publicity photos rendered of Iranian military supplies to that country.
Additionally, trips to Iraq taken by Iran’s defense minister, foreign minister and government officials invoke Iraqi public official statements of gratitude towards Iran for its military support.
This writer would point out that in addition to “testing” Iran’s military posture, the war in Syria and Iraq have provided IRGC with more current, tactical battlefield experience. It has also placed Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Iraq in positions of varying levels of reliance on Iranian military assistance.