KEELEY: The Time To Stop Iranian ICBMs Is Now Or Never

Iran protest Getty Images/David McNew

Gregory Keeley National security analyst
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Are the European powers finally waking up to the threat posed by Iran’s ICBM missile program and nuclear development? The United Kingdom, Germany and France have recently reiterated U.S. warnings that Iran is in breach of United Nations obligations by testing medium-range ballistic missiles able to carry nuclear warheads — masquerading as “space launch vehicles” (SLVs).

This represents a paradigm shift from Europe’s unwavering support of the fatally flawed and ill-conceived Iran Nuclear Deal. The State Department and the Trump administration writ large ought to see these statements as a sign that London, Bonn and Paris, may finally be accepting that Iran’s activities are so hazardous geo-politically that the Iran nuclear deal can no longer be sustained. 

Since President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been on the offensive, urging the United Kingdom, France and Germany to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal authored by the Obama administration. Secretary Pompeo has warned Iran of new, harsher sanctions if the scheduled launch of three “Space Launch Vehicles,” proceeds. Pompeo rightly asserts that the SLV carries technology which is analogous to that used in ballistic missiles. This is obviously unacceptable to the United States, and should be viewed as a direct threat by May, Merkle and Macron. 

Iranian missile technology has, in the last 20 years, fundamentally altered the threat environment in the Middle East. It is patently apparent the latest round of SLV launches are little more than thinly veiled cover for testing and refining nuclear missile technology that, once perfected could strike the continental United States and the entirety of Europe. The Trump administration must remain steadfast in its condemnation of the three proposed “spacecraft” launches and be prepared to act deliberately and decisively, if and when required. 

Secretary Pompeo made the U.S. position clear, stating, “This test violates UN security council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking ‘any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” 

The White House should use any and all leverage to halt Teheran’s SLV launches. The consequences of an ICBM armed rogue Islamist regime would be potentially devastating. The secretary of State summed up the risk, “would once again demonstrate Iran’s defiance of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which calls upon the Iranian regime not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

The UK and France are only now realizing the magnitude of the threat. French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement saying he was deeply concerned and said the tests were “provocative and destabilizing.” Macron directly counseled Iran to cease all testing of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. U.K. Ambassador to the United Nations Karen Pierce contended the test went “way beyond legitimate defensive needs” that Iran may have, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the test was “provocative, threatening and inconsistent with UNSCR 2231.” He added, “Our support for JCPOA in no way lessens our concern with Iran’s destabilizing missile program and determination that it should cease.”

That the Islamist Iranian regime is the world’s principal state sponsor of terror is unquestionable. The mullahs have overseen the proliferation of missiles and offensive technology to its proxies around the Middle East, threatening regional stability broadly and the state of Israel directly. Iranian blood and treasure, coupled with its missile technology has facilitated the terrorist organization Hezbollah’s ability to grow its arsenal of short-range missiles from approximately 10,000 a decade ago to more than 150,000 today — boasting significantly increased destructive power and accuracy.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem claimed “there is not a single point in the occupied territories out of reach of Hezbollah’s missiles.” Allied with Hamas in the Palestine territories, Hezbollah and Iran form an unparalleled missile threat to Israel.

We cannot allow the Iranian regime’s devastating policies and agenda to threaten not only the region, but global security and stability. The risk is simply to great and the consequences unimaginable. Iran is a clear and present danger to the United States and the globe. The threat must not go unanswered.

Greg Keeley (@DreadnaughtUSA) is the managing partner of Dreadnaught. A retired Navy lieutenant commander, he is a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pacific. He served as an adviser to the under secretary of defense intelligence. LCDR Keeley was also senior adviser to the vice chairman of the House Armed Service Committee and to the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.