Over the past decade, Israeli civilians have been the target of thousands of rockets supplied by Iran to Hamas in Gaza and to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Now we learn that part of the nuclear deal with Iran will be an unconditional lifting of the UN arms embargo in five years and sanctions on ballistic missiles in eight years. Then, Iran will be able to purchase advanced rockets for Hamas and Hezbollah made in Russia and China. Among the many flaws in this very flawed deal, the unconditional lifting of the embargo on arms and ballistic missile sanctions symbolizes the moral capitulation of the P5+1 to Iranian aggression.
During the negotiations, the White House indicated that the so-called “non-nuclear” issues like Iran’s support for terrorism would be off the table. Although at the organization I represent, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), we believed that ignoring Iran’s belligerent behavior to be a huge mistake, we nevertheless focused our concerns over nuclear-related issues.
UANI’s four parameters of a nuclear agreement focused solely on nuclear-related issues for what we deemed “an acceptable deal”. According to the agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran, even those four parameters will not be met.
Critically, international inspectors will not have the right to make snap inspections of suspect nuclear sites, including military facilities, but rather be subject to a convoluted bureaucratic formula that can be extended for 24 days before access is granted. And now, with the removal of the U.N. arms embargo on Iran in five years, this agreement is even more troublesome.
Simply put, allowing the world’s leading state sponsor of terror full access to the international arms market without demanding that Iran end its support for terrorists legitimizes Iranian support for terrorism.
Think of the message this sends to Hamas which fired 4,500 rockets at Israel just last summer. Think of the message this sends to Iran’s terror proxy, Hezbollah, which already has 100,000 rockets and missiles that can now hit any target in Israel (five times larger than Hezbollah’s stockpile of 20,000 rockets during the Second Lebanon War!).
Last summer during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge, my son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren who live in Israel had to run to shelter on dozens of occasions. At the end of last summer, my son and his family came to visit us in the states. During their visit they went shopping at a mall. Out of the blue, my three-year old granddaughter asked, “Mommy, where will we go when the sirens go off?”
It is my fear that my granddaughter will be asking that question many more times in the not-too-distant future. And so will many other children, but not only in Israel. The lifting of the U.N. embargo on the sale of ballistic missiles to Iran after eight years will pose a threat to countries far beyond the Middle East.
On July 7, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, told a U.S. Senate committee, “Under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”
Evidently, President Obama was not listening to his top military advisor.
Even with the current U.N. sanctions on ballistic missiles, Iran has already developed long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that can reach Israel. This was accomplished thanks to Iran’s close cooperation with North Korea in clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. In the meantime, both Iran and North Korea continue to work on the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
In his testimony about Iran to a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 10, Lt. General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency said,“Even today, their missiles cover most all of the Middle East, and the next generation will include ICBMs capable of attacking the American homeland”.
Fifteen years from now, when restrictions end on the development of Iran’s nuclear program, Iran will have had 10 years of full access to the international arms market. By then, Iranian ICBMs will likely be able to target the United States.
Instead of making our world a safer place, this shortsighted deal legitimizes Iran as a state sponsor of terror and opens the pathway to a nuclear-armed Iran armed with ICBMs. If the U.S. Congress does not block this deal and demand a better one, then Congress will have acquiesced to a historic mistake that will endanger us all.