On 13OCT15, IRGC-ASF Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh permitted what he claimed were first ever imagery to be published of ballistic missile force bases bored into the "heart of a mountain," stating "Those who are happy about their options on the table should just take a look at [Iran’s] options under the table… Our power and capabilities are like an iceberg that floats above water and whose tip barely shows above the clear water.”
Hajizadeh further claimed numerous such tunnels exist across the country at a depth of 500 metres.
"The Islamic republic's long-range missile bases are stationed and ready under the high mountains in all the country’s provinces and cities," he said, according to Sepah News.
The commander said the missiles were ready to be launched from all over Iran, on the order of "the supreme commander-in-chief," Leader of the Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“This is a sample of our massive missile bases," Hajizadeh said, adding that "a new and advanced generation of long-range liquid and solid fuel missiles" would start to replace the current weapons next year.
COMMENTARY: Contrary to the depiction that this is the first time Iran has published imagery of missile underground shelter complexes, there does appear to be examples shown in the past for both ballistic missiles on TELs (see below) as well as coastal defense cruise missiles on mobile launchers.
It appears the bores in the depicted tunnel complex are noticeably larger than those seen excavated by TBMs for Iran's light rail metro projects. However, additional construction techniques may have been specified and applied.
Also the timing of these ballistic missile announcements deserve consideration. If indeed the current Syrian offensive involves a significant IRGC ground force contingent, that is to say combat unit formations, perhaps the Iranian calculation involves publicity such as this touting the IRGC-ASF ballistic missile force for its strength as a deterrent, intended for both extra-regional as well as regional states supporting forces arrayed against the Syrian Arab Republic. This might especially be the case if the upcoming phase of the Syrian offensive is as destructive as some observers are expecting it to be.
Or perhaps the timing might better be explained as a consequence of Iran's ratification process for the JCPOA, as well as renderings specified on Iran's military industrial complex by the nuclear agreement and subsequent UNSC resolution.
IRGC-ASF Ghadr series MRBM mounted on TEL at underground ballistic missile force base
Giving a sense of scale for this section of claimed underground ballistic missile force base
Foreground: triconic warhead of Ghadr series MRBM on TEL
Background: wall surfaces of underground ballistic missile force base
IRGC-ASF Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh
Photos: Fars News Agency via Mashregh News