Less Talk, More Action Needed to Protect America From Iran | Letter to the Editor

Posted October 31, 2014 at 3:01pm

Until Iran stops dragging its feet on the P5+1 negotiations, the debate over Congress’s role in suspending the current sanctions is a moot point (Congressional Hawks Weaken an Iran Nuclear Deal, Roll Call, Oct. 23). So far, Iran’s strategy of hiding behind diplomatic niceties while using the delay to enrich uranium at a breakneck pace to get ahead of any potential “deal” has been obvious. Independent experts estimate Iran already has 10 times the enriched uranium it would need to build a nuclear warhead, and has the centrifuge capacity to fuel a new bomb every 2 months.

Rather than a theoretical debate, Congress should take action to protect America by increasing missile defenses so we are not at the mercy of a nuclear Iran. That means boosting funding for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense ballistic missile system, the only U.S. system that can defeat an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile. The GMD has completed nine successful test intercepts, but it needs continued testing and improvements — especially as our enemies develop more advanced decoys and defensive countermeasures. The administration has already proposed to increase the number of interceptor “kill vehicles” at the existing GMD sites in Alaska and California, and Congress should also approve construction on a third GMD base in the east, closer to the Iranian threat.

Even if a nuclear deal “ends” Iran’s formal nuclear program and even if it is a deal Congress approves of, we will never truly know how much uranium has been secreted away or weaponized already. We can shake hands with the Iranians, but we must also keep our defenses up.