Danger To U.S. and Allies
Iran presents a grave threat to the U.S. and to our allies. This is not just a fear for the future; Iran is harming America and our allies today by funding insurgent groups and militias inside Iraq. In addition, Iran has the capability now to hit US troops, NATO partners, and other significant allies with conventional weapons. If Tehran were allowed to develop nuclear weapons, this threat would increase dramatically, heightening their power and deepening our peril.
Iran Arms and Trains Iraqi Insurgents and the Taliban who Target American Soldiers. Iran provides money, weapons and training to several Shia militias operating in Iraq. Much of this assistance is provided by the Qods Force, an elite unit of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The United States government calls the Qods Force the Iranian regime's primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists and Islamic militants to advance Iranian national interests. The Qods Force has provided mortars, automatic weapons, advanced rockets, and sniper rifles to Iraqi militants. The Qods Force has also provided insurgents with explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) a particularly deadly type of improvised explosive device, specially designed to penetrate the armored vehicles used by our troops. Iranian forces, working together with Hezbollah, have trained Iraqi militants at several camps inside Iran. These militants then return to Iraq and share their new knowledge, in what American officials describe as a "train-the-trainer" program.
The Qods Force also provides key support to the Taliban. In 2007, the Treasury Department stated that "the Quds Forces is theIranian regime's primary instrument for providing lethal support to the Taliban," and it "provides weapons and financial support to the Taliban to support anti-U.S. and anti-coalition activity in Afghanistan." Army General McChrystal, the former commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reported in May 2010 that "there is clear evidence that some Taliban fighters have trained in Iran and received weaponry from Iranian forces.
Iran Has Missiles Capable of Striking American Troops and Allies. In July 2008, Iran test-fired an advanced Shahab-3 long-range missile, which has a range of about 1,250 miles, putting Israel, American forces in the Middle East, and even parts of Southern Europe at risk. Cairo, Athens, and Istanbul are all within 1,250 miles of Iranian territory, and since the Shahab-3 could be adapted to carry a nuclear warhead, it puts these cities in grave danger. Iran is also developing a new, more accurate solid fuel missile called the Ashura, with a similarly long range. The full scope of Iran's arsenal may be even more frightening. Following Iran's missile test in July 2008, the Director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency Lt. General Henry Obering said, "I personally believe, based on what I've seen, that right now Iran has the ability to reach most of Europe. And they just haven't demonstrated it yet. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, the threat posed by their inventory of ballistic missiles will increase exponentially.
Iran Directly Threatens Israel, a Key U.S. Ally. Iran poses a direct and existential threat to the state of Israel, a key U.S. strategic ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. Iranian leaders have repeatedly spoken of destroying Israel. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and referred to the Holocaust as a "myth." More recently, he called Israel a "dirty microbe" and a "savage animal" and predicted that "the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene." Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Muhammad Ali Jafari wrote in a February 2008 letter to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that the cancerous growth Israel will soon disappear.
Iran provides much more than rhetorical support to Israel's enemies. According to the State Department, Iran provides Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups, notably Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command, with extensive funding, training and weapons. For example, Iran has provided at least $120 million to Hamas since 2006. Iran provided Hezbollah with thousands of short and long-range artillery rockets that the terrorist group used during its 2006 war with Israel in which Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel, killing more than 40 civilians and confining 1 million Israeli citizens in or near bomb shelters. Signaling Iran's continued arms smuggling efforts, Israel seized a ship of Iranian weaponry destined for Hezbollah which contained enough armaments to supply Hezbollah for a month of fighting. Iran's deep hostility towards Israel is clear. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, Israel's survival as a nation will be in jeopardy.