February 14, 2014
By Peter Brookes
So much for Valentine’s Day.
For instance, after the United States and others started releasing frozen Iranian assets as part of the new nuke agreement, Tehran announced last week that they’re sending warships to patrol our East coast.
The latest reports indicate that two Iranian naval vessels are somewhere near the southern tip of Africa and would soon be rounding the Cape of Good Hope and heading our way.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Iran claimed their “fleet” was coming to shadow our shoreline — without result.
But while the Iranian naval task force doesn’t currently pose a threat (due to a lack of weapon’s punch) that could change if Iran joins the atomic bomb association and arms its ships with nukes in the future.
For the moment, the flotilla — which will almost certainly stay outside our territorial waters (12 miles) unless it wants to get spanked by the U.S. Navy — is meant to send a message at home and abroad.
Domestically, it’s the regime’s attempt to show strength and anti-Uncle Sam resolve to hardliners while negotiating with America over their nuclear program to allay concerns that they’re going soft on the “Big Satan.”
Overseas, Tehran wants to give Washington a taste of its own “medicine” by projecting power (if you can call it that) into our ’hood in an effort to get us to withdraw our ships from the Middle East — especially the Persian Gulf.
In Tehran’s view, it’s called the “Persian Gulf” for good reason.
But the ships are a silly sideshow compared to the more worrisome news on the ballistic missile front days before the parties reassemble in Geneva for the next round of talks aimed at a final nuclear deal.
It seems Iran is well on its way to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can reach the United States by 2015. That’s right: next year. Our spooks confirmed that assessment this week in Senate testimony.
In fact, besides having the most active missile program in the Middle East, Tehran this week reportedly tested new missiles (e.g., surface-surface, air-surface, and long-range) to mark the 35th anniversary of their Islamic revolution.
The regime also made it clear through its news outlets that it has no plans to negotiate its ICBM program away in Geneva as part of a nuclear framework; this reportedly runs directly counter to Team Obama’s plans.
The question is: Why do you need an ICBM unless you plan to put a nuke atop it? The answer is you don’t.
The point here is the chance of romance with the regime is remote. It probably makes more sense to skip the candy and flowers and spend it on something more practical like missile defense to blunt Iran’s insincere advances.
- Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow at the Davis Institute for International Studies
Originally appeared in the Boston Herald
Senior Fellow, National Security Affairs
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