MidEast

U.S. Envoy for Iran Warns of Growing Ballistic Missile Threat, Calls on Iran to Cease Aggression

The United States special representative for Iran warned Thursday that “the lethality and reach” of the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program is growing as “Tehran is intent…to deepen its presence throughout the region,” The Algemeiner reported.

Brian Hook made the comments at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., in front of an array of seized Iranian weaponry, including a variety of missiles, sniper rifles, RPGs and hand grenades.

“The new weapons we are disclosing illustrate the scale of Iran’s destructive role across the region,” Hook said. “The Iranian regime uses arms to export revolution, prolong crises and inflict death and suffering. The tools of Tehran’s foreign policy are here before you today.”

The threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program formed no part of the 2015 nuclear deal, and Tehran has since kept up testing missiles that can reach a maximum of 2,000km – putting Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia within reach.

Instead of honouring UN resolution 2231, which stipulates that Iran should not “undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” Hook explained that the Islamic Republic’s investment in missile testing and development is on the rise.

“The regime’s pace of missile launches did not diminish after implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in January 2016,” he pointed out. “Iran has conducted numerous ballistic missile launches and space launches since this time, as it continues to prioritize missile development as a tool of revolution.”

Hook continued: “Just this month, rockets rained down on Israel from territory controlled by Iran’s Palestinian partner, Hamas. In Lebanon, we have evidence that Iran is helping Hezbollah build missile-production facilities.”

Hook observed that, “As the world strives toward peace and security in the Middle East, we are working to reverse advances made by Iran and its proxies over the last several years.” The envoy explained that the U.S. administration’s “maximum pressure campaign,” enforced with biting new sanctions, “will continue until Iran, the Iranian regime, decides to change its destructive policies.”

Hook said Iran had a simple choice: “The regime can change its policies, or it can continue to watch its economy crumble. For 39 years, the Iranian regime has shaped events in the region through illegal weapons transfers, proxies and terror — a deadly trifecta. President Trump has made it clear that the United States will no longer tolerate the status quo.”

He concluded his remarks, clarifying that the U.S. “seek[s] a new and comprehensive deal with Iran that addresses the full range of Iran’s destructive activities in the region,” including Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

[Photo: IRNA]