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US Congress Calls for Boosting Regional Defense Against Iran

US Congress Calls for Boosting Regional Defense Against Iran

Saturday, 11 June, 2022 - 06:30
An Iranian soldier stands next to “Shahab-3” missile during a rally marking Jerusalem Day in Tehran, Iran, on April 29, 2022. (EPA)

A group of bipartisan US lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday to integrate regional countries' air defense systems to thwart Iran's threats.

The "Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defense Act" would authorize the US Defense Department to cooperate with Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other regional allies and the entire Gulf Cooperation Council, and requires the Pentagon to submit a strategy for integrated air and missile defense system within six months.

The bill stated that they must "identify an architecture and develop an acquisition approach for certain countries in the Middle East to implement an integrated air and missile defense capability to protect the people, infrastructure, and territory of such countries from cruise and ballistic missiles, manned and unmanned aerial systems, and rocket attacks from Iran."

The bill requires the Pentagon to submit a detailed report to Congress within 180 days of its approval, containing a strategy centered on the following three points: First, an assessment of the threat of ballistic and cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aerial systems, and rocket attacks by Iran and its affiliated groups to the countries mentioned above.

Second, a description of the efforts to coordinate indicators and warnings from such attacks with the specified countries, with a description of the current systems to defend against attacks.

Third, an explanation of the impact of integrated air and missile defense architecture would improve the collective security in the region.

Democratic Senator Joni Earnest, who introduced the bill, said that the full potential of the Abraham Accords between Israel and Middle Eastern partners could not be achieved without a commitment to collective security.

"America's role in activating and networking our allies and partners in the Middle East must evolve as violent extremists, like Iran, change their tactics and onboard new systems capable of catastrophic damage against civilian targets," she added.

Democratic Senator Cory Booker said the proposal was necessary to ensure the region's security and safety during increasing missile threats against Washington's allies in the Middle East.

Booker added, "Under the leadership and coordination of the Department of Defense, this bill will help develop an integrated air and missile defense system that protects civilians and infrastructure from rocket attacks and strengthens the defense capabilities of our Middle Eastern allies."

The senator noted that "encouraging cooperation between signatories of the Abraham Accords and other regional partners, this bill will also help foster a more peaceful and stable region."

Meanwhile, the Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted that Iran has a way out of the nuclear crisis it has created, including "cooperating with the IAEA to resolve outstanding safeguards issues and agree to return to the JCPOA, thereby addressing urgent international non-proliferation concerns and achieving US sanctions lifting. The choice is theirs."

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemned Iran's decision to remove 27 cameras from its nuclear facilities.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the move posed a "serious challenge," adding that unless it were reversed within three to four weeks, it would deal a "fatal blow" to the Iran nuclear deal.

It comes after the IAEA Board of Directors censured Iran for not answering questions about uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

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