Standing Strong On Iran

One year has now passed since the P5+1 powers signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2231 adopting the deal. It is no secret that Israel strongly opposed this deal with one of the world's most dangerous regimes. Regardless of one's opinion about the nuclear deal, however, it is now clearer than ever that there were many justifications for our concerns. Now, it is up to the international community to act appropriately to mitigate the dangers emanating from Iran.

Much of the analysis of the JCPOA on this anniversary has focused on the Iranian nuclear program. Proponents of the deal have repeatedly pointed out that Iran is complying with this core element of the agreement. Israel's concerns, however, are not alleviated by Iran's seemingly compliance with the deal. From our point of view, even if Iran fulfills every element of the agreement, it is merely delaying the day they obtain nuclear weapons, not denying them this dangerous capability.

Moreover, lost in the rush to celebrate the agreement two key elements of Security Council Resolution 2231, which adopted the JCPOA, that are equally, if not more, concerning have not received the attention they deserve. First and foremost is Iran's continued development and testing of mid and long range ballistic missiles. Resolution 2231 clearly states that Iran is "Not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology."

We now know that Iran has defied this resolution at least four times by testing such missiles. Iran even had the audacity to write on one of these missiles that "Israel should be wiped off the Earth." The last missile test took place just a few days before the world marked the anniversary of the agreement.

Iran's defiance is not just an Israeli assertion, it is the view agreed upon by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Even Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is usually in search of balance and objectivity, ruled in a recent report that the Iranian missile tests are not in the "spirit" of the JCPOA.

Another key area of concern is Iran's continued arming and funding of terrorists throughout the Middle East and worldwide. Annex B of the resolution 2231 bans the "transfer of arms or related material from Iran." During a recent meeting of the Security Council, I shared with my colleagues that our intelligence assessment that there are now over 120,000 Hezbollah rockets and missiles in Lebanon aimed at Israeli population centers.

It is no mystery how this terrorist organization orchestrated its military buildup. Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah himself admitted that "Hezbollah's budget and its expenses are coming from the Islamic Republic of Iran." Nasrallah then further clarified that Iranian funds are, quote "coming to us in the same way we receive our rockets with which we threaten Israel."

Iran's defiance and violation of the 2231 should not just be an Israeli concern. The Ayatollah's do not need long-range ballistic missiles to threaten Israel. It is apparent that that have targets further away in Europe and the United States in mind.

Similarly, Iran's export of arms and funding of terrorists is not limited to Israel's enemies. A few months ago, American forces intercepted a significant Iranian arms shipment that was intended for the Houthis in Yemen.

We also know that Iran's intentions do not stop at the edge of the Middle East. Argentina recently marked twenty two years since Hezbollah's bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed eighty five innocent people, and we have every indication that Iran's proxy continues to make inroads throughout South America.

Faced with these transgressions, the full Security Council must unequivocally declare Iran in defiance of resolution 2231's missile-testing ban and in violation of the prohibition to export arms. Attempts to soften language in order to avoid confrontation with Iran only lessens the effectiveness of the Security Council.

While the next steps must be debated, when faced with situations in the recent past where member states defied Security Council resolutions, this important body knew to act swiftly and appropriately. In one such instance, the Council agreed by consensus to impose strict new sanctions including inspection on all imports and the halt the sale of aviation fuel to the offending country.

Obviously each case is different and the solution for one country that defies the international community is not necessarily the same as another. Nevertheless, it is clear that if the Security Council is to remain a relevant enforcer of international norms, and if the international community is serious about holding Iran accountable, we cannot make do with reports that are long on words but short on concrete actions.

Now is the time to stand up to Iran's noncompliance, protect and defend free people throughout the world, and ensure the significance and strength of the United Nations and the Security Council.