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“This destabilizing test must be met with immediate action,” says Foreign Affairs Chair

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take immediate action following Iran’s illicit test of a ballistic missile, which is the most reliable way to deliver nuclear warheads.

In the letter to President Obama, Chairman Royce wrote:  “It is clear that Tehran is testing United States resolve in the wake of the nuclear agreement. This destabilizing test must be met with immediate action, both unilaterally and at the UN Security Council, to make clear that Iran remains prohibited from developing this dangerous technology and uphold your Administration’s pledge before Congress to counter Iran’s ballistic missile program.  Chairman Royce concluded the letter by stating: “Mr. President, in announcing the nuclear agreement with Iran, you declared that ‘we are not taking the pressure off Iran with respect to arms and with respect to ballistic missiles.’  Failing to immediately and directly respond to Iran’s recent ballistic missile test would further erode U.S. credibility in the Middle East, at a time when a clear restoration of that credibility is urgently needed.”

The signed letter is available HERE.

The text of the letter follows:

October 14, 2015

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to express my grave concerns with Iran’s recent launch of a precision-guided, long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It is clear that Tehran is testing United States resolve in the wake of the nuclear agreement. This destabilizing test must be met with immediate action, both unilaterally and at the UN Security Council, to make clear that Iran remains prohibited from developing this dangerous technology and uphold your Administration’s pledge before Congress to counter Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Ballistic missiles are the most reliable way to deliver nuclear warheads, making them a key component of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. No country has maintained an expensive missile program, as Iran has, without also aspiring to possess nuclear weapons.  For this reason, Congress targeted Iran’s missile production—in addition to its enrichment efforts—with U.S. sanctions.

Your Administration once understood the importance of addressing ballistic missiles in the nuclear agreement.  In February 2014, chief negotiator Wendy Sherman testified to Congress that Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles is “going to be part of something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”

Yet after Iran’s Supreme Leader called the push for restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles “a stupid, idiotic expectation,” U.S. negotiators unwisely dropped their demand that the agreement prohibit Iran from developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.  This caught many observers by surprise, with the negative consequences of this last minute concession becoming obvious all too soon after the nuclear agreement was finalized.

Your Administration has stressed that Tehran’s missile program remains subject to UN Security Council resolutions and U.S. sanctions.  Indeed, Iran’s missile test is a clear violation of a number of these resolutions, including the resolution passed to implement the nuclear agreement. UNSCR 2231 clearly states that “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches utilizing such ballistic missile technology.” Has the United States called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to develop an international response to Iran’s illicit missile test? In addition, will you impose sanctions on individuals and companies involved in this test?

Mr. President, in announcing the nuclear agreement with Iran, you declared that “we are not taking the pressure off Iran with respect to arms and with respect to ballistic missiles.”  Failing to immediately and directly respond to Iran’s recent ballistic missile test would further erode U.S. credibility in the Middle East, at a time when a clear restoration of that credibility is urgently needed.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to fully supporting a vigorous response to the grave threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE
Chairman

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