"A website with close ties to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has outlined why it would be acceptable to kill all Jews and annihilate Israel."
7. Which countries can deliver a tactical nuclear attack? Who might be able to do so in the near future?Submitted by MikeChalberg on Mon, 2012-03-05 11:56
More FAQs in:
Many countries have tactical missiles with short- or medium-range capability, but not nuclear warheads. For the most part, the United States does not have to worry about such countries attacking the domestic U.S. Those missiles could be used to attack the U.S. Navy or military bases in other regions.
The list of countries which have nuclear weapons (or are believed to be developing them) and could be an adversary of the United States are listed below:
Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia remains heavily armed with nuclear weapons capable of hitting the domestic United States. Like China, a big problem is Russia’s past and current arming of other nations, including North Korea, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Fearing too much U.S. control in the Middle East, Russia has become very involved in the missile development programs, particularly short-range tactical missiles.
China is a nuclear power with missiles capable of reaching the United States. It's also believed that China has sophisticated capability with short-range tactical weapons. These are mainly used for regional power plays in Asia and as a threat to any movement toward true Taiwanese autonomy. Perhaps the greatest concern is the Chinese willingness to sell ballistic weapons and technology to countries like North Korea and Iran. Currently, China is believed to have around 200 nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. (Source: Heritage Foundation)
Pakistan possesses dozens of nuclear warheads and short- and medium-range tactical ballistic missiles. Like Iran, Pakistan has received ample support from China and North Korea. Also like Iran, they are unable to deliver any long-range missiles. The greatest concern regarding Pakistan and its nuclear capabilities is the stability of the government as well as the potential for terrorists to acquire nuclear weaponry from it.
North Korea has developed rather advanced missile systems, and has nuclear weapons. Its tactical missiles are able to reach any part of South Korea as well as much of Asia and the Pacific. The U.S. Department of Defense believes that the North Koreans are developing weapons capable of hitting the continental United States.
Concern abounds regarding North Korea and its weapons, particularly in light of the death of its leader, Kim Jong Il, and his replacement by his son Kim Jong Un. Unlike most other countries in the region, North Korea has shown a willingness to use them, the last attack taking place in the fall of 2010. It has shown a willingness to help other potential U.S. adversaries such as Iran. It's estimated that North Korea has roughly 1,000 ballistic missiles of varying range. (Source: Heritage Foundation)
Iran, with the help of China, Russia, and North Korea, has been greatly improving its missile systems as well as working toward nuclear capability. It has short- and medium-range SCUD tactical ballistic weapons, some stationed in the Persian Gulf. Though they are constantly improving the mobility and range of the weapons, there is little evidence that they have a sophisticated guidance system or long-range capacity.
There has recently been growing concern over the Shahab-class missiles, which reportedly have an increased range of up to 2,000 km. Iran is supposedly developing the Shahab-6, an ICBM which has a range up to 1,800 miles (Source: NTI.org), but this has not been verified. Additionally, it is believed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.S., Israel, and other nations that Iran has been and continues to pursue nuclear weapon capabilities, though it does not currently possess such weapons.
In May of 2011 a report came out that Iran and Venezuela had been in the process of discussing the sale of short- and medium-range tactical missiles and building missile installations in Venezuela. The concern was that these missiles would be able to target the continental United States. Shortly after the report came out, both the U.S. and Venezuelan governments denied the report. What is known is that the Venezuela's President Chavez and Iran's President Ahmadinejad have close ties and many agreements between the two countries.
Nevertheless, there is concern over what Venezuela may attempt to do in the future. For some, the idea of a Venezuela armed with missiles capable of hitting the United States conjures past memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis.