TEHRAN – An unclassified summary of a congressionally mandated Pentagon report obtained by Bloomberg News says Iran’s military strategy is defensive.
“Iran’s military strategy is defensive” and designed to “deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor and force a diplomatic solution” while avoiding major concessions, says the summary of the report submitted to U.S. lawmakers on July 7, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
“Of note, Tehran’s strategic messaging about its military capabilities through the mass media has been less strident since Rouhani took over,” it said. “Widespread publicity of major military exercises, previously the norm, has been minimal.”
Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East analyst for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, said in an e-mail that the Pentagon’s previous Iran reports “have been consistently suspicious and assuming the worst in Iran’s intentions and capabilities.”
“This assessment is more nuanced, giving Iran some credit for adjusting its approach so as to minimize international suspicions,” he said.
Katzman said he was struck by the Pentagon’s characterization of Iran’s military doctrine as defensive.
“This definitely has a much different and more benign tone that the preceding reports did,” Katzman said.
The new Pentagon assessment also says, “Tehran is quietly fielding” increasing numbers of anti-ship ballistic missiles, “small but capable submarines,” coastal missile batteries and attack craft.
Separately, Iran possesses “a substantial inventory of missiles capable of reaching targets throughout the region, including Israel.”