Missile Uprising series, episode 2
Libya and the Scud, the onset for Iran turning into missile power

In the Iranian calendar month of Tir the year 1362, while the unjust attacks of the Iraqi Ba’ath regime were at their highest level, the governments of Libya and Syria officially invited then IRGC minister Mohsen Rafiqdoust to their countries.


Since the invitations were initiated by the foreign party, they had special importance and Rafiqdoust accepted both.


In those days Iran was not in much good situations due to the fact that Iraq was constantly bombarding Iranian cities while Iran did not have much to respond in like.


But at that time, Syria was being a great help to Iran. One example was that Iranian military delegations would go to Syria and from their they would be sent – accompanied by Syrian officials – to Eastern Bloc countries such as Yugoslavia and Bulgaria to buy military equipment.


The operations were done in that way since no country in the world was going to sell Iran weapons or military equipment. In this way, Iranian officials would buy weapons under the name of Syria.


But even that was not enough to end Saddam Hussein’s joy with the Scud missiles he fired into Iran. Therefore, something more basic and fundamental was needed to be done, regarding which Rafiqdoust’s trip to Libya and Syria was creating the most suitable opportunity.


Rafiqdoust decided to go to these countries with a fully military team, with the hope to acquire from those countries some missile equipment. Yahya Rahim Safavi, then second in command of the IRGC, Tehrani Moqaddam, IRGC artillery commander, and nine others accompanied the war minister.


The delegation first went to Syria to meet Hafiz al Assad. There they discussed receiving missiles, but Assad said since his country’s missile arsenals were controlled by Russia, he could not promise to give Iran Scud missiles. However, he vowed to given Iran missile trainings.


Since no one in Iran had been educated about preparing and launching missiles, the Iranian delegation welcomed the offer and it was agreed that Syrian Army would train Iranians.


But Iran was not in situations to be able to spend a lot of time on learning how to operate missiles since its cities were being constantly bombarded and further, if they were trained, there would be no missile to use. This made the Iranian delegation stress receiving missiles in their trip to Libya.


Upon meeting Muammad Gaddafi, Rafiqdoust points to need to receive missiles and provides the Libyan leader with a report about the situations at the front. Gaddafi agrees to provide Iran with a number of Scud missiles and right in that session orders a number of missile unit officials of the Libyan army to accompany Iranian delegation to Iran.


But in return for the missiles, Gaddafi asks Iran to give his country an American HOG air defense base, which Iran agrees.


In the first phase, Libya gives eight Scud missiles to Iran and Iran launches them against Iraqi positions. The second time Rafiqdoust travels to Libya, the country gives Iran another ten Scud missiles. And the third time another 12 Scuds.


The first Scud launched from Iran hit the oil city of Kirkuk. In later times, Basra, and Baghdad were hit.


But after the last Scud shipment was sent to Iran, Libyan officers who had traveled to Iran to launch them let the job down and announced that Gaddafi had ordered them not to help Iran with launching missiles any more.


Up to that day, Gaddafi had given Iran 30 Scuds. 21 had been shot and 9 remaining. Then, Tehrani Moqaddam quickly took the stage with his team.


Major General Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam was the main architect of the Iranian missile system and the founder of Iran's deterrent power. He was the chief of the "self-sufficiency" unit of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. He founded Iran's long-range missile program, and designed the Shahab, Ghadr and Sejjil missiles with an operational range of more than 1,000 kilometers specifically to threaten Israel. For these reasons he is regarded as Iran's missile architect and the father of Iran's missile program. He was killed on 12 November 2011 in the Bid Kaneh explosion, at a depot belonging to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution 25 miles west of Iran's capital, Tehran.


After the Iran-Iraq war (1980–88), as Iran had only non-native Scud missiles with an operational range limited to 300 kilometers, Moqaddam set up a long-range missile program and designed a number of different missiles. His immediate goal was to develop a missile with an operational range of more than 1,000 kilometers that could threaten Israel.


The first target that the Iranian forces were going to hit without help from Libyan counterparts was the Iraqi officers’ club of the army in Baghdad. The group were dispatched to Bakhtaran (now Kermanshah) and prepared for launch.


When they ready the missile, the Iranian team launch the first missile toward the club, about one hour later, radio BBC announces in a breaking news report that the club has been hit and many officers killed.


It was thus that Iranians managed to launch the first missile successfully. But the problem was still on, because the missiles were running out and if the Iraqi army notes that, it would start bombarding cities once more.


Therefore it was needed to solve the problem in a more fundamental way. Mohsen Rafiqdoust and Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam even made a trip to South Korea to buy missiles and other weapons, but the then Korean leader denied them missiles and said he would only provide the Iranians with missile and other military training services.


This trend was on until Iranian officials thought of making missiles domestically, missiles that would be built without help from others and enjoyed a suitable range so that they could hit different areas in Iraq.