- Report finds Iran still developing ballistic missile technology despite ongoing nuclear negotiations
Iran continues to develop ballistic missile technology that can be used for nuclear weapons, despite the ongoing P5+1 talks over its nuclear program, according to a Pentagon report released to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The current nuclear talks, with a deadline of June 30, fail to address Iran’s missile program. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, declared, “I think that this is a major, major shortcoming of these negotiations,...[which] may rank as even a bigger concession than the concessions about Fordow, the concessions about Arak heavy water reactor, the concessions about the advanced centrifuges.” Michael Eisenstadt, Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said “It would have been preferable if, I think, missiles were folded into negotiations.” The fact that they are not, he continued, underscores the need to address Iran’s past work on weaponization.
On Tuesday, the Hudson Institute hosted an event on Iran’s missile program, focusing on both the conventional and unconventional threats it poses. Iran’s missile program enables the regime to act more aggressively in the region, intimidating its neighbors and providing its proxies with rockets, while giving it the option to launch nuclear warheads. In April 2013, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, told members of Congress, “We judge Iran would likely choose a ballistic missile as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon, if one is ever fielded. Iran’s ballistic missiles are capable of delivering WMD.” He continued, “Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile arsenal.”
Moreover, Dr. David Cooper, Professor and Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, explained that “Iran does say that their nuclear weapons program is peaceful, but I would argue that the missiles may tell a different story.” He then concluded, “Iran has a very capable missile force, and the nature and scale of those programs has long belied the peaceful nuclear intentions that Iran claims.”
Qatar’s stock market has taken a hit in the wake of the ongoing criminal investigations into FIFA and the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, which has thrown doubt on Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup, The Wall Street Journal reported (Google link) today.
The Journal reported that in the wake of last week’s arrests of a dozen FIFA officials and sports marketing executives, the United States is building a case against Blatter. Swiss authorities are investigating how Russia and Qatar won their bids for hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, respectively. Qatar is currently building five stadiums for the 2022 tournament amid charges that it treats migrant workers as slaves, hundreds of whom have died working in harsh conditions.
In The Fruitful Game: How Qatar Uses Soccer to Polish Its Image, which was published in the October 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, associate editor Ben Cohen wrote about the corruption charges that have dogged Qatar’s World Cup bid and could now endanger its winning bid in the wake of Blatter’s resignation.
In Could Israel Get Booted Out of Soccer?, which was published in the June 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, written prior to Blatter’s reelection and subsequent resignation as FIFA president, assistant editor Aiden Pink described how closely identified Blatter was to Qatar’s World Cup bid. (via TheTower.org)