Joni Ernst: Biden must heed the threat Iran poses

As Published In: The Washington Examiner

We have a lot going on in our homeland right now, and, as always, our adversaries around the world are watching closely.
Over the past month, Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, has made known its clear intention to create a nuclear weapon. Most recently, Tehran bluntly told the world’s nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is ramping up the production of weapons-grade nuclear material. The IAEA, in turn, has told the United Nations Security Council that Iran is blatantly upgrading its nuclear weapons capability and doing so “in plain sight.”
This comes after Iranian militias launched a rocket attack near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and Iran recently seized a South Korean oil tanker. We simply cannot take our eyes off our enemies abroad.
For President Biden and his entire national security team, there must be no days off from securing and protecting our homeland. There should be no appeasement of Iran and its behavior. Even to discuss rejoining the Iran Nuclear Deal right now is unwise. To appease this terrorist state could be catastrophic.
Biden’s first responsibility is to keep the nation safe, and that includes making sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. As I said when Biden was still serving as vice president, advocating for the Iran Nuclear Deal, we should never take Iran’s leaders at their word and provide a radical regime with billions in support with little to no oversight. We should not have done it then, and we certainly should not do it now.
The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, on which I serve as the top Republican, is focused on ensuring that our war fighters have the tools and technology they need against the enemies of today as well as the many threats we face, including a nuclearly armed Iran. It must always be a top priority to invest in new weapons systems and maintain our defense posture against any adversary, whether a near-peer competitor like Communist China or a terrorist regime like Iran.
I believe that our new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, having served as the commander of Central Command, understands the Iranian threat. However, I am concerned that some of the Obama-era officials returning to government feel a personal and sentimental attachment to the Iran Deal they wrote six years ago — a deal that gave the terrorist Iranian regime billions of dollars to support horrific attacks throughout the greater Middle East.
I urge the incoming Biden administration to make a top priority of keeping our nation and the world safe from the threat of Iranian nuclear missiles. While I have no doubt the Biden administration will be quick to do the opposite of whatever the previous administration did, I urge our new president to look at the Iranian threat as it exists today and make his decisions based instead on what is best for the public. The security of our country and of our allies depends on it.
We have a lot going on in our homeland right now, and, as always, our adversaries around the world are watching closely.Over the past month, Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, has made known its clear intention to create a nuclear weapon. Most recently, Tehran bluntly told the world’s nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is ramping up the production of weapons-grade nuclear material. The IAEA, in turn, has told the United Nations Security Council that Iran is blatantly upgrading its nuclear weapons capability and doing so “in plain sight.”
This comes after Iranian militias launched a rocket attack near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and Iran recently seized a South Korean oil tanker. We simply cannot take our eyes off our enemies abroad.For President Biden and his entire national security team, there must be no days off from securing and protecting our homeland. There should be no appeasement of Iran and its behavior. Even to discuss rejoining the Iran Nuclear Deal right now is unwise. To appease this terrorist state could be catastrophic.
Biden’s first responsibility is to keep the nation safe, and that includes making sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. As I said when Biden was still serving as vice president, advocating for the Iran Nuclear Deal, we should never take Iran’s leaders at their word and provide a radical regime with billions in support with little to no oversight. We should not have done it then, and we certainly should not do it now.
The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, on which I serve as the top Republican, is focused on ensuring that our war fighters have the tools and technology they need against the enemies of today as well as the many threats we face, including a nuclearly armed Iran. It must always be a top priority to invest in new weapons systems and maintain our defense posture against any adversary, whether a near-peer competitor like Communist China or a terrorist regime like Iran.
I believe that our new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, having served as the commander of Central Command, understands the Iranian threat. However, I am concerned that some of the Obama-era officials returning to government feel a personal and sentimental attachment to the Iran Deal they wrote six years ago — a deal that gave the terrorist Iranian regime billions of dollars to support horrific attacks throughout the greater Middle East.
I urge the incoming Biden administration to make a top priority of keeping our nation and the world safe from the threat of Iranian nuclear missiles. While I have no doubt the Biden administration will be quick to do the opposite of whatever the previous administration did, I urge our new president to look at the Iranian threat as it exists today and make his decisions based instead on what is best for the public. The security of our country and of our allies depends on it.
Joni Ernst, a combat veteran, is Iowa's junior U.S. senator.
 
Click here to read the op-ed in the Washington Examiner