We live in an increasingly dangerous world, and I believe that increasing polarization in our nation only adds to that danger. The aggression of our adversaries against our country and our allies must be matched with equal resolve on our part, which we can do only when lawmakers reach across the aisle and stand together as Americans. That’s why my friend Josh Gottheimer and I are leading several of our colleagues from both parties to call on President Donald Trump to immediately address the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program.
During his presidency, Barack Obama entered into a deal with Iran attempting to stall Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. I opposed that deal strongly, as did many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. One of the deal’s fatal flaws is that it does not require Iran to stop developing ballistic missiles. It weakly “called upon” Iran to temporarily stop developing “nuclear-capable” missiles, but even that language was nonbinding. This flaw has been extensively exploited. Since the Nuclear Deal was implemented, Iran has continued testing long-range ballistic missiles in violation of this call to abstain from doing do, showing its great disrespect for the intent and spirit of the Nuclear Deal and the U.N. resolutions that enshrine it.
Alarmingly, the missiles Iran has tested are more than capable of reaching Israel, our greatest ally and friend in the region. In 2016, Iran successfully launched two ballistic missiles that had “Israel should be wiped off the Earth” written on the sides. And despite the Nuclear Deal attempting to parse the difference between nuclear-capable missiles and every other kind of missile, the fact remains that no country on earth has pursued an intercontinental ballistic missile program without also pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Iran’s intended use for these weapons – and its intended target – is very clear.
Our message is very simple. We need to call Iran’s missile program what it is: a key part of Iran’s continuing efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and use them to dominate the region.
President Trump is currently discussing the future of the Iran Nuclear Deal with our European allies. President Emmanuel Macron of France was just in Washington, where he and President Trump talked about how to move forward on Iran. We are calling on the president to make Iran’s continued pursuit of ballistic missiles a central part of the conversation, regardless of whether the U.S. withdraws the Nuclear Deal or seeks to salvage it. Should we stay party to the deal, it needs to be updated to include new sanctions on Iran’s illegal ballistic missile program. Should we withdraw, the United States should immediately work with the international community to impose new sanctions on Iran’s missile program. And either way, it is essential that our European allies take their own steps to increase sanctions on Iran, and show Tehran that the United States and Europe stand united against the threat that Iran’s missile program poses to Israel, our other allies, the region as a whole, and ourselves.
It’s our job stand up to America’s enemies in defense of our nation and our freedoms, and it’s our responsibility to put aside partisan differences so we can do that job with one united voice. That’s why we are making this bipartisan appeal to the president to ensure that no matter how his negotiations on the Iran Nuclear Deal conclude, that the result includes new U.S. and European sanctions on Iran’s missile program. We need to stand with our ally Israel, and we need to show to Iran and the world that we will not tolerate Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons or the ballistic missiles that carry them.
Source » Courierpostonline