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Rubio, Young Lead Letter Calling For Sanctions On Iran For Ballistic Missile Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Todd Young (R-IN), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today led a letter signed by 14 senators to President Trump advocating for the imposition of tough additional sanctions against Iran in response to Tehran’s continued pursuit of ballistic missile capabilities that threaten the national security of the United States and our allies.
The senators note that “Iran has actively pursued a ballistic missile program that threatens our forward deployed troops, our allies, and our interests.” They also note that these missiles may eventually have the range to target the United States and would be capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
“As many serious and urgent threats compete for attention, we believe it is important to remain focused on the growing threat that Iran’s ballistic missile program represents. We applaud your administration’s recent actions with respect to Iran’s ballistic missile program. We are eager to work with the administration to take additional steps to better protect the United States and our allies against this threat,” the senators continued.
The letter notes disturbing testimony by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and calls on the “administration to work with Congress to impose sanctions on any sector of the Iranian economy that is directly or indirectly associated with the development or transfer of ballistic missile parts, components, or technology.”
The senators also express concern regarding ballistic missile cooperation between North Korea and Iran.
In a January 25 report, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies identified as many as 23 ballistic missile launches by Iran since the conclusion of the July 2015 Iran Deal.
In January 2017, Senators Rubio, Young, and Cornyn introduced the Iran Nonnuclear Sanctions Act of 2017 (S.227). The same three senators also introduced the Iran Terror-Free Skies Act of 2017 (S.420) and cosponsored the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 (S.722).
In addition to Rubio and Young, the following senators also signed the letter: Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dean Deller (R-NV), David Perdue (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and James Risch (R-ID).
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. President:
As many serious and urgent threats compete for attention, we believe it is important to remain focused on the growing threat that Iran’s ballistic missile program represents. We applaud your administration’s recent actions with respect to Iran’s ballistic missile program. We are eager to work with the administration to take additional steps to better protect the United States and our allies against this threat.
As you know, Tehran oppresses the Iranian people and denies them their human rights. Abroad, Tehran uses their resources to fund terrorism and foment instability. As the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism, Iran actively supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah and props up the murderous Assad regime that uses gas to slaughter the Syrian people.
To make matters worse, Iran has actively pursued a ballistic missile program that threatens our forward deployed troops, our allies, and our interests. In fact, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified in May that “Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East and can strike targets up to 2,000 kilometers from Iran’s borders.” This capability puts forward deployed U.S. troops and key allies like Israel in direct danger today.
Unfortunately, Tehran’s ballistic missile threat may soon extend well beyond the region—even to our homeland. As DNI Coats testified in May, “Tehran’s desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Progress on Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies.” This fact is especially disturbing because Iran’s ballistic missiles would be capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Our intelligence community assesses that “Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons…”
Given these facts, we applaud the administration’s decision on January 4, 2018, to impose sanctions against five Iranian entities that support its ballistic missile program. We believe that these sanctions represent an important step in undermining Iran’s ballistic missile program. However, we call upon the administration to immediately designate – using authorities under Executive Order 13382 – all remaining agents, affiliates, and subsidiaries associated with the designated entities and their parent companies. We also believe that more robust sanctions are necessary. Therefore, we call on the administration to work with Congress to impose sanctions on any sector of the Iranian economy that is directly or indirectly associated with the development or transfer of ballistic missile parts, components, or technology. This includes designating or otherwise sanctioning the foreign and domestic supply chains associated with Iran’s ballistic missile programs. We encourage the administration to work with allies and partners to make these sanctions multilateral where possible.
Furthermore, we understand that the revolutionary regime in Tehran has given control of its ballistic missile inventory to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and that the IRGC’s Aerospace Force (IRGC-AF) is chiefly responsible for the upkeep, transfer, maintenance and testing of these weapons. We call on the administration to conduct a review and impose sanctions against any persons or entities within the Islamic Republic that offer material support to the IRGC-AF. This material support can be as high-tech as those engaged in warhead engineering for Iran’s missiles, or as low-tech as fixing the transporter-erector launchers (TELs) that provide Iran’s missile force with mobility.
As you know, North Korea and Iran have a robust ballistic missile relationship. Given this relationship, we are also concerned that collaboration between those two countries could enable Iran to rapidly and surreptitiously build an ICBM-deliverable nuclear weapon. This development—combined with the radical and revisionist nature of the regime in Tehran—would represent an unacceptable risk to the security and interests of Americans. We stand ready to work with the administration to provide any resources or authorities needed to better address this proliferation threat.
Thank you again for your administration’s focus on this issue. We stand ready to work together to better protect our troops, our allies, and ultimately our homeland against Iran’s ballistic missile program.