Just after North Korea’s successful intercontinental ballistic missile test demonstrated the communist nation’s ability to strike anywhere in the U.S., the Islamic Republic of Iran wants the world to know that its own military limitations are purely self-imposed.
According to the senior deputy of Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards, Europe is only safe from the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles because their Supreme Leader does not regard these countries as a threat — for now. Brigadier Gen. Hossein Salami cautioned that Iran’s self-containment could change on a whim, inviting the West to test Iran’s resolve.
“So far we have felt that Europe is not a threat, so we did not increase the range of our missiles,” Salami said. “But if Europe wants to turn into a threat, we will increase the range of our missiles.”
The general’s provocative rhetoric came in response to French calls for an “uncompromising” dialogue with the Islamic Republic in regards to its expanding ballistic missile program. Paris has suggested separate negotiations outside of the widely criticized 2015 nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, as well as renewed sanctions against Tehran for violating the spirit of the nuclear pact.
French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne told reporters:
France is concerned about the continued pace of the Iranian missile program, which does not conform with [U.N.] Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 and which is a source of destabilization and insecurity for the region.
UNSCR 2231 is the foundation upon which the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), rests. Before Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States would sign off on the JCPOA, they demanded that Iran abstain from developing weapons with the potential to deliver nuclear material.
The European Union (EU), unwilling to scrap their hard-won nuclear deal with Tehran, disagrees with France’s response, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has dismissed calls for additional sanctions to induce compliance from Iran.
Iran insists that its missile development is for defensive purposes, despite insinuating that the Islamic Republic could engineer ballistic missiles with a range exceeding 2,000 kilometers. Salami warned, “If we have kept the range of our missiles to 2000 kilometers, it’s not due to lack of technology – we are following a strategic doctrine.”
Discussing the strategic potential of Iran’s missile program, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari boasted of his country’s ability to strike at U.S. assets in the Middle East. Jafari contends that the 2,000-kilometer range can target “most of American interest and forces” in the region.
Jafari also made it clear that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the head of Iran’s armed forces, makes all decisions regarding the country’s weapons development. The Shiite-majority nation already possesses precision-guided missiles with the potential to strike at Israel.
This is disconcerting because the Ayatollah has called the Israel a “barbaric” Jewish state that “has no cure but to be annihilated.” He even announced a nine-point plan to assure Israel’s destruction in the future.
Besides hating their Jewish neighbors, Iran has its fingers in several proxy wars which have bedeviled U.S. and European interests in the region. Tehran has armed Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen, supplied and trained Shiite militias operating in Iraq and Syria and the Islamic Republic remains the sponsor of Lebanon’s most dangerous terrorist organization — Hezbollah.
Yet, Iran’s ambitions in the region coupled with their complete disregard for the JCPOA has not convinced many European nations that the threat is worthy of action. At least U.S. President Donald Trump took the unilateral action of decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.
The rest of Western civilization, however, is pursuing a policy of appeasement, coaxed into acquiescence by their undying commitment to avoiding confrontation.