New missile capabilities have been discovered in Iran, just after President Obama claimed the danger was nearly over. “We’ve halted the progress of [Iran’s] nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material,” Obama said in his State of the Union address.
Though Iran claims not to be working towards a nuclear bomb, the country has made “very rapid progress” with long-range missile development. It now reportedly has a 27-meter missile that could easily carry a satellite into orbit or deploy a warhead “far beyond Europe.”
“This never-before-seen missile and launch site stand outside Tehran [and] appear capable of sending a rocket into space or being used as an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] to launch an attack on a long-range target,” said CBN News Middle East bureau chief Chris Mitchell. “Some reports indicate the Pentagon estimates it may have been two years in development.”
A former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Dore Gold, expressed his concern for America.
“Originally many in the U.S. think of Iran, as well you know — that’s a problem for Saudi Arabia or Israel, but it’s not our problem,” said Gold. “That’s not true. The trend in Iranian planning for long-range missiles that can eventually reach the Eastern Seaboard of the United States — that’s a given now.”
Despite the evidence, Obama continues to pursue negotiations with Iran in an effort to make them America’s ally. He discards the idea of sanctions, which other political leaders advocate to attempt to stop Iran from producing missiles.
“Yet the White House and Congress differ on how to respond to the Iranian threat,” Mitchell said. “The administration wants to negotiate, while congressional leaders from both parties prefer any negotiations to include the threat of sanctions.”
Congress members themselves expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s seeming lack of concern about the Iran situation and unwillingness to work with Congress to find a solution.
“The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran,” New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D) said to his colleagues during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker (R) also expressed concern, especially when the president threatened to veto unwritten Iran foreign policy legislation. “For Congress not to have the ability to weigh in on this [topic], which has such geo-political importance in a place where Congress has played such an important role, is ridiculous and candidly irresponsible for Congress not to play a role,” Corker said.
It remains to be seen whether Obama’s negotiations with Iran will be successful.
“The United States and five other nations negotiating with Iran on its nuclear program have set a June 30 deadline for reaching a final settlement,” Mitchell said. “Some leaders on both sides of the Atlantic believe the expanding nuclear and missile program represents Iran’s ultimate goals of attacking what it calls ‘the little Satan’ (Israel) and ‘the great Satan’ (the United States).”
Iran has repeatedly refused inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), preventing the U.S. and other countries from investigating Iran’s nuclear and missile activities.
“To be credible, a final agreement must ensure that any effort by Tehran to construct a bomb would be sufficiently time-consuming and detectable that the international community could act decisively to prevent Iran from succeeding,” said David Albright, a former IAEA inspector. “It is critical to know whether the Islamic Republic had a nuclear weapons program in the past, how far the work on warheads advanced and whether it continues. Without clear answers to these questions, outsiders will be unable to determine how fast the Iranian regime could construct either a crude nuclear-test device or a deliverable weapon if it chose to renege on an agreement.”