ON Monday, the Iranian military’s deputy chief of staff announced that the Islamic Republic had successfully tested yet another ballistic missile — this time, a highprecision midrange weapon with a reported reach of 2,000 kilometers, or 1,250 miles, and with a degree of accuracy that he claimed to be “without any error.” If these statements are true, the entire Middle East, including Israel, is within the reach of the mullahs’ missiles
It was not revealed if this missile had its genocidal intent actually inscribed on it, as other missiles recently tested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have — with the inscription in Hebrew “Israel should be erased from the map.” But it hardly matters. The mullahs’ objectives are plain enough for anyone with eyes to see: The Iranian regime is continuing its determined march toward not only a nuclear weapon, but also the means to launch it, first against Israel and then against the United States.
This reality makes all the more inexplicable President Obama’s steadfast faith that, since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, Iran has been charting a “more moderate course” to the detriment of the oldtime hardliners, and that Mr. Rouhani and his administration would be reliable partners in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
To give credit where credit is due, the regime in Tehran has been frank and open about its continued hostility toward America and Israel. In the months since the Obama administration and the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (the group commonly referred to as the “P5 + 1”) concluded the deal with Iran called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Revolutionary Guards have tested at least four ballistic missiles. Flush with the $100 billion they claim to be getting in assets unfrozen under the deal, the mullahs have gone on a spending spree, finally purchasing, among other things, the Russian S300 missile system, which is now being delivered to them.
Who can forget the searing images of American sailors on their knees with guns pointed at their heads by our “moderate” partners this past January? Just last week, in the course of receiving an official delegation from the Gazabased militant movement Palestinian Islamic Jihad — which the State Department designated a terrorist group in 1997, for its efforts to destroy Israel — the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reiterated that the prime directive of the Islamic Republic remains, as it has been since 1979, to wage war against the United States and Israel.
On Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, that trusted counterpart to Secretary of State John Kerry, publicly affirmed to the Iranian Parliament that the same supreme leader who had just said doing harm to America and Israel was his key objective remains the ultimate arbiter of Iranian foreign policy. And as a final reminder of how the Islamic Republic conducts itself toward America, on Monday Amir Hekmati, a former United States Marine, sued the government of Iran for the brutal torture inflicted on him over the course of more than four years of arbitrary detention by Tehran.
Enough. The mullahs’ policy is, by their own admission, unchanged. It is the same one that inspired the socalled revolutionaries of 1979 to take 52 Americans as hostages for 444 days, and motivated murderous attacks on Israelis and Americans from Buenos Aires to Beirut to Baghdad over the subsequent decades. The only thing that is changing now is the potential scale of this violence, as they seek to replace truck bombs and roadside explosive devices with the most destructive weapons on the planet and the means to deliver them.
The sensible thing to do now is to face this reality, however unpleasant it may be, and do what we can to bolster our defenses and those of our allies.
As a first step, I look forward to working with my congressional colleagues this week and in coming months to make sure that President Obama’s failure to sufficiently fund Israel’s missile defense programs in his latest budget request is reversed. Shockingly, even after admitting that the nuclear deal with Iran places Israel in greater danger and making assurances that support for the Jewish state would be increased, the president could not find a single dollar to put toward procurement for the David’s Sling or Arrow3 missile defense systems, which are being jointly developed by the United States and Israel
We have all been impressed by the success of Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, which targets shortrange rockets and was implemented with the generous assistance of American taxpayers. But as the recent Iranian mediumrange missile test proves, rockets fired from Gaza are not the only threat Israel faces.
Providentially, David’s Sling, which guards against such ballistic missiles, is ready to go online this year; it will be followed by the Arrow3 system to protect the Jewish state from longerrange weapons. Rather than starving these programs, Congress should seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Israel’s security and so to our own. That would send the leaders of the Islamic Republic an unmistakable signal that there are at least some in Washington who still take them at their word, and will act accordingly.
Ted Cruz is a Republican senator from Texas
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