Obama Must Act to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Provocations

The Iranian nuclear deal had many flaws. It allowed Iran to fully develop a nuclear weapons program in 15 years, after which the United Nations will lift almost all restrictions on the program. No centrifuges were set to be destroyed, and indeed the deal gave Iran tacit approval to conduct research on advanced centrifuges, which are needed to enrich weapons-grade plutonium. The Arakheaavy water reactor remained in full operation. And the International Atomic Energy Agency didn’t get 24/7 access to Iran’s facilities, instead requiring them to request access via special commission.

But in a deal full of boneheaded decisions and questionable choices, the one that always stuck out was that it removed conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran, which would inevitably fuel the regional proxy war happening in the Middle East and seriously destabilize our ability to operate in the Persian Gulf and Straight of Hormuz.

Even Democrats were stunned by the move.

“It’s amazing to me that we included the arms embargo and the missile technology question as part of the deal,” Sen. Bob Menendez told MSNBC. “The reality is that there’s a reason why Iran wants that. It wants to be able to continue to deploy its terrorism throughout the region as its presently doing, even in desperate economic straits. I worry about intercontinental ballistic missiles and their ability to produce it.”

To literally no ones surprise, Iran nearly immediately took their newfound power and began using it. Within months of the deal being signed, and just weeks before the economic sanctions against Iran were set to be lifted, Iran conducted medium-range ballistic missile tests that were “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon,” according to the U.N. Security Council.

“To follow our defense programs, we don’t ask permission from anyone,” a defiant Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan told the state-run news agency IRNA.

Iran didn’t stop there. They conducted additional tests of new ballistic missiles in November and then, in December, fired several unguided rockets within 1,500 yards of the U.S. aircraft carrier, the Harry S. Truman.

Republicans immediately demanded action. Even some Democrats, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) the party’s chairwoman, were becoming concerned that Iran needed to be punished.

“Inaction … would send the misguided message that, in the wake of the [nuclear deal], the international community has lost the willingness to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its support for terrorism and other offensive actions throughout the region,” Schultz and six other House Democrats wrote in a letter to Obama.

The U.N. Security Council refused to sanction Iran for any of the launches and the Obama administration implemented mild sanctions, which Sen. Kelly Ayotte called “pathetic and weak.”

Apparently emboldened and willing to push the envelope, Iran has been ramping up its missile tests over the past several days. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran conducted two tests in the past week of tactical and short-range missiles with ranges between 180 and 400 miles. The timing of these tests was clearly aimed at sending a message to the Obama Administration.

The New York Times’ reports:

“Coming on a day when Mr. Biden was meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem, the second round of tests seemed also to be aimed at provoking an Israeli reaction.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards’ missile program, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said the rockets had a range of about 1,200 miles and were capable of hitting the “Zionist Regime,” Iran’s name for its archenemy Israel, the semiofficial news agency Mehr reported.

Fars [another semiofficial news agency] reported that the missiles had text written on them in Hebrew saying, “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth,” an allusion to the famous declaration by the former Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, the missiles seen in photographs of the launch did not seem to carry any text.”

Iran’s brazen contravention of a U.N. Security Council resolution banning missile launchings and the spirit of the U.S. nuclear deal, suggest that Iran is working aggressively with North Korea to build an intercontinental ballistic missile, the perfect delivery system for a nuclear warhead. The question now is, what will President Obama do in his remaining days in office to stop Iran and what will the future president do to degrade their missile system? Voters should demand answers.