Top US Official: Iranian Missile Threat Is Growing, Regime Must Change Its Behavior
The regional threat posed by the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile program and its arming of proxies continues to grow, a top US official warned on Thursday.
In remarks delivered in front of an array of seized Iranian weaponry — including a variety of missiles, as well as sniper rifles, RPGs and hand grenades — at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, DC, the Trump administration’s special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, called out the government in Tehran as an “outlaw regime” that had violated several UN resolutions regarding arms exports.
“The new weapons we are disclosing illustrate the scale of Iran’s destructive role across the region,” Hook said. “The Iranian regime uses arms to export revolution, prolong crises and inflict death and suffering. The tools of Tehran’s foreign policy are here before you today.”
“Tehran is intent on increasing the lethality and reach of these weapons, to deepen its presence throughout the region,” he added.
Iran’s investment in missile testing and development is on the rise, according to Hook.
“The regime’s pace of missile launches did not diminish after implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in January 2016,” he pointed out. “Iran has conducted numerous ballistic missile launches and space launches since this time, as it continues to prioritize missile development as a tool of revolution.”
“Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the region, with more than 10 ballistic missile systems either in its inventory or under development,” Hook said. “Any environment where Iran is able to operate freely can become a forward deployed missile base for such systems and for many other kinds of weapons, as you see here today. This threatens Israel and other partners, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”
“Just this month, rockets rained down on Israel from territory controlled by Iran’s Palestinian partner, Hamas,” Hook noted. “In Lebanon, we have evidence that Iran is helping Hezbollah build missile-production facilities.”
“As the world strives toward peace and security in the Middle East, we are working to reverse advances made by Iran and its proxies over the last several years,” he said.
The reimposition on Tehran at the start of November of the remaining sanctions that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal marked the “largest-ever, single-day action targeting the Iranian regime,” Hook emphasized.
“Our sanctions went back into place on more than 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft,” he recalled.
“Our maximum pressure campaign,” Hook went on to say, “will continue until Iran, the Iranian regime, decides to change its destructive policies. The regime can change its policies or it can continue to watch its economy crumble. For 39 years, the Iranian regime has shaped events in the region through illegal weapons transfers, proxies and terror — a deadly trifecta. President Trump has made it clear that the United States will no longer tolerate the status quo.”
“We seek a new and comprehensive deal with Iran that addresses the full range of Iran’s destructive activities in the region,” Hook stated.
“The United States has a positive vision for the Middle East where every state retains the right to defend itself,” Hook said. “But no outlaw regime like the one in Tehran can freely undermine the sovereignty of other nations. This is not foreign policy, it is state-sponsored revolutionary terrorism. The Middle East will be best served when an Iranian government respects the rule of law, abides by fundamental standards and commitments and rejects terrorism.”
Watch Hook’s presentation below: