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America Needs a Comprehensive Policy Approach to Iran
Summary: On Sep. 22, Iran featured a new offensive ballistic missile at a military parade. Iran’s rapidly developing missile program and expanding regional aggression illustrate Tehran’s dangerous ambitions. The Trump administration will soon finalize its Iran policy review. It is clear that America requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both Iran’s dangerous behavior and the underlying flaws of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s latest missile is larger and more sophisticated.
Iran displayed missiles with a range of 1,200 miles, capable of reaching Israel, at a Sept. 22 military parade in Tehran. (Photo: AP/ Ebrahim Noroozi)
• On Sept. 22, Iran paraded through Tehran its new Khorramshahr ballistic missile. Once perfected, it will have a greater payload capacity than previous Iranian missiles. The Khorramshahr reportedly will be able to carry multiple warheads to a range of 1,200 miles—well within striking distance of U.S. troops and allies, including Israel.
• Iran has test fired at least 15 missiles since the 2015 announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 specifically calls on Iran to cease all such launches and prohibits any assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Iran is expanding its regional aggression and reach.
• Iran continues to provide additional arms, funds and personnel to support Syria’s Assad regime. As a result, Iran is far along toward establishing a “land bridge” from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria and Iraq—which will enable the ground transport of weapons and fighters to Israel's border.
• Iran has dramatically increased support to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. Over the last two years, annual support reportedly has increased from $200 million to more than $800 million.
• Also, Iran is sending more deadly weapons to Houthi militias in Yemen. According to the senior U.S. naval official in the region, these weapons include anti-ship and ballistic missiles.
• “[Iran’s] malign activity all around the world has dramatically increased since this deal was struck,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Sept. 11, 2017.
The nuclear agreement remains fatally flawed.
• The JCPOA allowed Iran to retain most of its nuclear infrastructure and continue work on advanced centrifuge technology.
• The deal's key restrictions begin to expire in 2021. By 2031, virtually all limits will disappear, leaving Iran with no legal bar to constructing an industrial-scale nuclear program and becoming a nuclear weapons threshold state—able to break out rapidly to a bomb at a time of its choosing.
• The JCPOA inspection regime is also seriously flawed, failing to guarantee unhindered access to Iranian facilities where nuclear activity may be underway. For example, the IAEA has not visited a single Iranian military facility since implementation of the JCPOA.
America needs a comprehensive strategy towards Iran.
• The United States requires a clear, comprehensive strategy that addresses both Iran’s dangerous aggression and the underlying flaws of the JCPOA.
• Iran must understand that the United States will never permit it to acquire nuclear weapons.
• A comprehensive American approach must:
o Overhaul the problematic sunset clauses of the nuclear deal.
o Press the IAEA to strengthen and expand its inspection of Iran’s nuclear program.
o Oppose Iran’s regional aggression and support for terrorism, including any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria.
o Toughen sanctions against those supporting Iran’s missile program, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah.
o Ensure Israel has the means to defend itself against the growing Iranian threat.