By James Middlebrook

Iran poses a grave threat to the United States.
Iran possesses upwards of 800 missiles capable of hitting regional nations, including Israel. In spite of U.N. Security Council resolutions, Iran persists in developing a long-range missile program. The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) stops Iran’s nuclear weapons program for 10 years in exchange for economic sanctions relief. But the JCPOA doesn’t restrict Iran’s missile program. This allows Iran to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. Further, at the expiration of JCPOA, Iran will resume nuclear weapons research. On this path, we will virtually guarantee to eventually have an economically strong Iran with long-range nuclear missile capabilities.

Today’s threat from North Korea is a stark example of the steps Iran may take to becoming a world-wide threat. In 1994, President Bill Clinton struck a deal with Pyongyang, where he promised we would stifle the North Korean nuclear program. The North Koreans cheated on the agreement and continued to develop ICBMs capable of carrying nuclear weapons and the weapons themselves. However, North Korea is not economically viable, and harsh sanctions may bring them back to the negotiating table.

If we continue on the same trajectory with Iran, we will face a worse situation in coming years. America must act now against Iran, similarly as with North Korea, with economic sanctions aimed at stopping ICBM production. The United States and allies should punish Iran for their ambitions to develop nuclear capable missiles and their continued actions that create unrest in the region. By imposing sanctions Iran will be forced to choose again, like before the JCPOA, between a path to war or a path to prosperity.

Let’s learn from the successes and failures from our dealings with North Korea to prevent an even graver threat from Iran—a wealthy nuclear-powered adversary capable of hitting the U.S. homeland and our allies. America must act now to protect our future, because Security Matters.