Strategic Weapons: Maraging Steel For Iran

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May 30, 2009: Iran is building dozens of long range ballistic missiles each year, and is only able to do so by obtaining, despite UN and U.S. embargos, crucial raw materials and components. In the last year, Iranian attempts to smuggle several key missile components were aborted by U.S. and European investigations. These involved attempts to obtain nearly a hundred tons of metals that Iran could not produce itself (specialized aluminum alloys, tungsten-copper plates, tungsten metal powder and maraging steel) as well as hundreds of electronic components essential for missile control and guidance systems. Chinese firms supply some of these items, as well as help in buying and moving exotic materials from firms outside China, and getting the stuff to Iran. The U.S. has had success recently finding, and punishing (with huge fines), U.S., European and Chinese banks that secretly helped Iran carry out these illegal transactions. These efforts aren't stopping Iranian missile building, but are slowing it down, and making it a lot more expensive.

 


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