Charles Hoskinson — Washington Examiner Oct 15, 2015
Lawmakers Wednesday pushed the Obama administration to act against Iran’s test of a new-generation missile that has fueled fears it may be able to defeat Israel’s anti-missile defenses.
“This destabilizing test must be met with immediate action, both unilaterally and at the U.N. Security Council, to make clear that Iran remains prohibited from developing this dangerous technology and uphold your administration’s pledge before Congress to counter Iran’s ballistic missile program,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to President Obama.
In a separate letter, eight members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked Obama to quickly determine the U.S. response to Sunday’s test and come up with a policy for dealing with future tests.
“We believe it is vitally important that the United States and other world powers immediately address any Iranian violation of international law, particularly as you begin to implement the nuclear agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran,” said the letter, signed by Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee and fellow Republicans Cory Gardner of Colorado, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Barrasso of Wyoming and David Perdue and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.
Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia also signed the letter.
The missile, dubbed “Emad,” or “Pillar,” has an estimated range of 900 milles to 1,100 miles, which is enough to reach Israel, and a maneuverable warhead to improve accuracy and complicate anti-missile defenses. Officials and experts are concerned that any breach by Iran of its obligations under the nuclear agreement, combined with further development of its missile program, would give the theocracy in Tehran a nuclear strike capability against the Jewish state, which it has vowed to destroy.
The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers extends for eight years U.N.-imposed restrictions on Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles, but Iran has publicly rejected any limits.
Administration officials said Tuesday that the test does not violate the deal, but does appear to be a violation of U.N. resolutions barring development of such weapons. Officials hedged when questioned by reporters about what action they would take in response.
“We take the missile launch quite seriously, and we’re still seeking to determine whether or not it is inconsistent with U.N. Security Council resolutions that are on the books. We have strong suspicions that it is, but that’s something that we continue to look at,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials on Wednesday unveiled a deep underground bunker packed with missiles at an unknown location and told state television they would soon be replaced by more advanced long-range missiles.
“As of next year, a new and advanced generation of long-range liquid and solid fuel missiles will replace the current products,” Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Aerospace Division, was quoted as saying.