Friday, March 09, 2007

Perspective: Analysts say Iranian military obsolete

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s outdated military presents little current threat to its neighbors, despite the fierce rhetoric from its hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, military analysts said Monday at a security conference here in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has exaggerated its military capabilities, while U.S. and Israeli leaders have engaged in “provocative rhetoric” that overstates the Iranian threat, said Anthony Cordesman of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In reality, Iran is more focused on national defense than using military power to boost its influence in the region, he said.

Cordesman, addressing military leaders from the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states, said Iran’s disputed nuclear program could someday pose a danger, but said any looming threat lies a decade or so away, leaving time for diplomacy.

Iran represents “a force that has to be taken seriously in the defense of its country, but it has very little capacity to project outside the country,” Cordesman said. “Iran cannot seriously engage the U.S. for any length of time. In an asymmetric capacity perhaps, but not in conventional warfare.”

Read the rest at Navy Times