Trump Administration Ramps Up Classified Program to Sabotage Iranian Missile Efforts, Report Says

Two failed rocket launches prompted a New York Times investigation into a classified program aimed at supplying Iran with faulty parts to thwart aerospace efforts

FILE Photo: A military exhibition displays a Revolutionary Guard missile, the  Shahab-3 missile, seen under a picture of the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran.
AP

A secret U.S. program to sabotage Iranian missiles and rockets has been accelerated under the Trump administration, the New York Times reported Wednesday

The Islamic Republic recently announced two separate rocket failures, one on January 15 and the other on February 5. New evidence reported by the Times suggests that such failures are part of an ongoing attempt to "slip faulty parts and materials into Iran's aerospace supply."

>> Read more: Warsaw summit will test U.S. gamble on Israeli-Arab pact against Iran | Analysis ■ How Trump is forcing Europe to give up on the Iran deal | Explained 

The classified 11-year-old program was created under President George W. Bush but had reportedly eased by 2017 when Mike Pompeo took over the C.I.A. as director. However the Times now reports a recent rise in missile and rocket failures as an effort to "subvert Iran's space launches and missile test flights."

The report was released as 65 countries gather in Warsaw for the "Promoting a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East" conference, co-hosted by the U.S. State Department and Poland.  The conference, which excluded Iran from participating, was slammed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif an "anti-Iran circus."

Officials told the Times that it's impossible to measure the success of the program, but the report concludes that 67 percent of Iranian orbital launches have failed.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement, Washington, U.S. May 8, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Relations with Iran have been on rocky terms since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. Since then, Washington has also encouraged European countries to impose sanctions on the country.

Before the U.S. pullout, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran's Aerospace Force, had accused U.S. intelligence of a campaign to "infiltrate and sabotage" Iran's missile infrastructure, the Times said.