On Sunday, Iran tested ballistic missiles with advanced precision-missile guided capabilities, and our President, unsurprisingly, did nothing. Reuters reports that the Islamic Republic of Iran has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East. The latest military exercise demonstrates Iran’s aggressive attempt at improving its missile-firing capabilities, threatening the region, and ultimately the West.
Iran’s Defense Minister, Hossein Dehghan told Iranian reporters at a scheduled news conference, “The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely detroy them…This greatly increases Iran’s strategic deterrence capability.”
It’s important to note that this machismo display of power was highly publicized and glorified by Iranian state-run news agencies; Iran is not shy about flaunting its ever-improving military capabilities. “Our leadership and armed forces are determined to increase our power,” boasted the defense minister.
Although Deghan was quick to reiterate the missile program’s peaceful intentions, Western allies doubt the minister’s sincerity, to say the least. As military commander of the region’s most inflammatory theocracy, Deghan’s words of feigned innocence ring hollow, especially against the backdrop of unceasing and reverberating chants calling for “Death to America.” It’s hard to take a man that serves as a crony to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei seriously when he postures this way.
This missile program is “to promote peace and stability in the region,” jeered the same defense minister who spearheads the operation to bolster pro-Assad forces in Syria, “there is no intention of aggression or threats in this action.” As expected, Iran may have violated the United Nations Security Council Resolution, an accord approved a few days after the nuclear deal signed by U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The accord prohibits Iran from developing “missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.”
"There is no intention of aggression or threats in this action."
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan
The Emad missile is a significant upgrade from Iran’s Shahab-3 missile. The Iranian defense minister noted that unlike the old Shahab-3, the Emad missile can be guided toward its target. This development may signal danger to key American allies, most notably Israel. According to Michael Elleman, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a UK based research firm specializing in arms control and nuclear deterrence, Iran is buttressing its military capabilities. “What has become increasingly clear is Iran’s desire to enhance accuracy and lethality,” warned Elleman.
Iran’s hardliners, its mullahs and Khamenei loyalists, have been urging the military to continue testing missile capabilities in direct defiance of feeble warnings by President Obama. Anti-US hostility is brewing in the regime that just negotiated a nuclear deal. Ayatollah Khamenei even went as far as banning further negotiations with the United States.
Despite this crystal-clear canary in the coal mine, Obama has chosen to remain aloof. Khamenei’s not-so implicit threats, especially via Twitter (a luxury most folks in Iran cannot enjoy due to harsh censorship policies) have done little to turn Obama away from juvenile naiveté. Disturbingly, the White House brushed aside a highly-incendiary tweet in July foreshadowing a US military loss against Iranian supremacy.
US president has said he could knock out Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but.. pic.twitter.com/D4Co7fVuVg— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 25, 2015
Iran’s hardline clerics are taking advantage of a weak American president. In response to provocations of war, ballistic missile testing, and chants to wipe Israel off the map, President Obama has intermittently scolded the Ayatollah, making cautiously optimistic speeches instead of concretely countering Iran’s belligerent temperament.