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Pentagon: Iran’s cyber-attacks more aggressive, ballistic missiles more sophisticated since nuclear deal

Posted by Tip Staff - August 10, 2016


Iran has improved its cyberwarfare capabilities and made significant progress in developing more advanced ballistic missiles in the year since the nuclear deal was reached, the U.S. Defense Department has stated. Iran has “a substantial inventory of missiles capable of reaching targets throughout the region, including U.S. military bases and Israel,” the Pentagon announced in its annual report to Congress on Iran’s military capabilities, which Bloomberg News published on Tuesday. Furthermore, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is tasked with exporting the Iranian revolution, has continued to hone its ability to “support and carry out” terrorist attacks.
Since the nuclear deal, Iran has “been testing to see what kind of activities it can get away with without jeopardizing sanctions relief and foreign investment,” Michael Eisenstadt, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Military and Security Studies Program, wrote in a report last month. The Islamic Republic has “ramped up cyberspying operations against U.S. officials, journalists, and academics engaged in Iran policy, presumably for intelligence purposes, using email and social media contact lists harvested from the computer of detained Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi.” The Associated Press reported last December that Iranian hackers had been targeting the U.S. electric grid’s networks and stealing highly sensitive data since August 2013. Iran is also “increasingly turning the tools of computer espionage against both exiles abroad and potential dissidents at home,” Elias Groll wrote in Foreign Policy Tuesday.
Iran has conducted several ballistic missile tests since the agreement was reached, most recently last month. The launch prior to that, in May, featured a missile with an estimated range of around 1,250 miles. Another launch, in March, included a missile with a range of around 870 miles that had the phrase “Israel must be wiped from the face of the earth” inscribed on it in Hebrew. UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which codified the nuclear deal, calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” The resolution also says that Iran must abide by previous Security Council resolutions, which placed restrictions on ballistic missile work until 2023.
The resolution “calls upon” Iran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles, whereas UNSC resolution 1929, which 2231 replaced, explicitly stated that Iran “shall not” engage in such activity. United States and European Union officials wrote in a letter to the United Nations this past March that Iran’s ballistic missiles tests “were inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” of UNSC 2231, but did not call it a violation. However, while appearing before Congress last December, Ambassador Stephen Mull, the Obama administration’s lead coordinator for implementing the nuclear deal, said that such missile launches would “violate that part of the UN Security Council resolution.”


Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor is being consider by the United States Army to defend deployed troops, Defense News reported Tuesday.
Iran Dome was primarily produced by the Israeli defense giant Rafael, but many of its component systems were provided by the American defense contractor Raytheon. That company has now built its own version of the Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptors, called SkyHunter.
Skyhunter is one of three systems being evaluated by the U.S. Army to defend against “a spectrum of threats, from cruise missiles and UAVs to rockets, artillery and mortars,” Defense News reported. If selected, the Tamir would be totally constructed by Raytheon and redesigned to meet American standards.
“The minute that the US decides to procure Iron Dome, [Rafael] will transfer all the knowledge and production file to Raytheon,” said Yosi Druker, head of Rafael’s Air Superiority Systems division. According to the two companies’ joint agreement, Rafael will produce 40 percent of the component parts.
Iron Dome is considered a favorite to win the contract because it is low-cost and has a proven track record. The Tamir interceptor was also successfully tested in the United States in April.
In its trademark description of SkyHunter, Raytheon describes it as “a ground-based missile interceptor system consisting of a guided missile with electro-optic sensors and adjustable steering fins for tracking and destroying incoming enemy rockets, missiles, artillery and mortars.” (via TheTower.org)

Israeli startups NiniSpeech and AerialGuard won first and second place, respectively, at the Global Innovation Awards 2016, a startup competition featuring 21 startups from around the world competing for $1.5 million in cash prizes. NiNiSpeech, which developed a revolutionary digital platform for treating speech disorders, took first place in the competition. ‎”Winning first place is a personal victory for me and offers new hope for millions of children and adults around the world who suffer the daily agony of difficulty in expressing themselves fluently,” said NiniSpeech founder and CEO Yair Shapira, whose child suffers from a speech disorder. This is the second consecutive year that an Israeli startup won first place in the competition. Last year, DiaCardio, developer of innovative software for decoding echocardiograms, took the crown. “The fact that an Israeli startup won the competition for the second year in a row not only demonstrates Israel’s technological edge and out-of-the-box thinking, but also the Israeli tech market’s relevance for global markets, specifically with a focus on China. A true competitive edge is based on deep technological thinking and acute understanding of market and problem domains. Israeli entrepreneurs have become great at both, paving the way to an outstanding Israeli startup ecosystem,” said JVP partner Yoav Tzruya, who served as a judge in the finals. AerialGuard, this year’s second place finisher, developed an autonomous navigation system for unmanned aircraft. (via Israel21c)


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