Washington — ON Monday, the Iranian military’s deputy chief of staff announced that the Islamic Republic had successfully tested yet another ballistic missile — this time, a high-precision midrange weapon with a reported reach of 2,000 kilometers, or 1,250 miles, and with a degree of accuracy that he claimed to be “without any error.” If these statements are true, the entire Middle East, including Israel, is within the reach of the mullahs’ missiles.
This reality makes all the more inexplicable President Obama’s steadfast faith that, since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, Iran has been charting a “more moderate course” to the detriment of the old-time hard-liners, and that Mr. Rouhani and his administration would be reliable partners in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
Who can forget the searing images of American sailors on their knees with guns pointed at their heads by our “moderate” partners this past January? Just last week, in the course of receiving an official delegation from the Gaza-based militant movement Palestinian Islamic Jihad — which the State Department designated a terrorist group in 1997, for its efforts to destroy Israel — the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reiterated that the prime directive of the Islamic Republic remains, as it has been since 1979, to wage war against the United States and Israel.
On Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, that trusted counterpart to Secretary of State John Kerry, publicly affirmed to the Iranian Parliament that the same supreme leader who had just said doing harm to America and Israel was his key objective remains the ultimate arbiter of Iranian foreign policy. And as a final reminder of how the Islamic Republic conducts itself toward America, on Monday Amir Hekmati, a former United States Marine, sued the government of Iran for the brutal torture inflicted on him over the course of more than four years of arbitrary detention by Tehran.
The sensible thing to do now is to face this reality, however unpleasant it may be, and do what we can to bolster our defenses and those of our allies.
As a first step, I look forward to working with my congressional colleagues this week and in coming months to make sure that President Obama’s failure to sufficiently fund Israel’s missile defense programs in his latest budget request is reversed. Shockingly, even after admitting that the nuclear deal with Iran places Israel in greater danger and making assurances that support for the Jewish state would be increased, the president could not find a single dollar to put toward procurement for the David’s Sling or Arrow-3 missile defense systems, which are being jointly developed by the United States and Israel.
Providentially, David’s Sling, which guards against such ballistic missiles, is ready to go online this year; it will be followed by the Arrow-3 system to protect the Jewish state from longer-range weapons. Rather than starving these programs, Congress should seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Israel’s security and so to our own. That would send the leaders of the Islamic Republic an unmistakable signal that there are at least some in Washington who still take them at their word, and will act accordingly.
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