by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
How post-sanction Iran is publicly threatening Israel’s existence with impunity.
The Iranian regime has been escalating the advancement of its ballistic missile program ever since the nuclear agreement went into effect in January 2016. Some of Iran’s dangerous ballistic missiles can carry multiple warheads.
In the last four months, Iran has launched ballistic missiles several times. Some of these missiles had a phrase "Israel should be wiped off the Earth” written on them in Hebrew.
The Iranian regime is increasingly provoking other countries in the region and has made it clear that the ballistic missiles are aimed at targeting other nations. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of Iran’s Aerospace forces, said to FARS news agency (Iran’s state-controlled media outlet) that “Iran has built missiles that can hit targets at 2,000 Km. They are designed to hit Israel at such a distance.” He added that Islamic countries have surrounded Israel and “its [Israel’s] life is short. So it will collapse in any given war – long before a missile is even fired.”
This week, an Iranian general acknowledged that Iran has recently launched ballistic missiles again. This means that Iran has breached the nuclear deal and UN resolutions for the third time in the last four months.
Although President Obama and the Iranian regime argue that Iran’s launching of ballistic missiles is not violating anything, the UN resolutions and the nuclear agreement indicate otherwise.
The United Nations Security Council resolution (section 3 of Annex B of resolution 2231, 2015) is crystal clear. The resolution “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
The second United Nations Security Council resolution 1929 states “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities.”
In addition, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Agreement (JCPOA) of the nuclear agreement between P5+1 and Iran states that Iran should not undertake any ballistic missiles activity “until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.”
But the Iranian leaders have breached both the resolutions and the nuclear agreement several times. Intriguingly, Iran has become more empowered to act militarily since the nuclear agreement. Iran has repeatedly test-fired, long-range ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface-to-surface missiles. In October and November, just after the nuclear deal was reached, Iran tested a new ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.
In March, Iran again test-fired two ballistic missiles. More recently and for the third time, the Iranian government fired a test missile two weeks ago with an accuracy of 25 feet, which is characterized as "zero error," according to the Brig. Gen. Ali Abdollahi, the Iranian military's deputy chief of staff, and Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.
The range of existing Iranian ballistic missiles has grown from 500 miles to over 2,000 kilometers (roughly 1,250 miles), which can easily reach Eastern Europe, as well as countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Yemen.
The five members of the UN Security Council have not reacted forcefully or taken the appropriate measures to hold the Iranian government accountable for the violations.
Although according to a report obtained by the Associated Press, the launches are "destabilizing and provocative" and that the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile and Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile fired by Iran are "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons," President Obama has trivialized the issue, failing to hold Iran accountable, and only responding with more rhetoric.
For example, even though Iranian generals have admitted launching ballistic missiles, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said this week that they are “still trying to get to the bottom of what exactly transpired.” This is a classic approach to avoid dealing with the real issue.
Obama has stopped short of calling Iran’s actions violations of UN Security Council resolutions. Unfortunately, President Obama will continue to overlook Iran’s aggressive actions, including ballistic missile launches and the detention of U.S. sailors by the Iranian forces, until he leaves office. He desires that his crowning foreign policy “success” (the nuclear agreement) remain intact.
President Obama is concerned that holding Iran accountable for these violations might force the Iranian leaders to abandon the nuclear deal, marking his failure. The Iranian regime exploits Obama’s weakness. Iranian leaders will be launching more ballistic missiles and acting more aggressively and provocatively, as they see no one holding them accountable for their violations.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist, author, business advisor and public speaker, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review (Harvard University). Harvard-educated, Rafizadeh grew up most of his life in Muslim countries (both Sunni and Shiites nations). He is the author of the memoir “A God Who Hates Women” and the upcoming memoir “The Renegade.” Dr. Rafizadeh can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu. Follow him at @Dr_Rafizadeh.
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