WASHINGTON D.C. — Rep. Jackie Walorski, along with her colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter requesting a briefing on actions taken by the Department of Defense to enhance U.S. force posture and security measures in the Middle East.
“We write with serious questions concerning the Department of Defense’s readiness and posture in the Middle East following the Obama Administration’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran,” the letter read.
The letter to Carter, authored by Walorski, highlights multiple troubling actions taken by the Iranian government and Iranian military since the Obama Administration signed the JCPOA earlier this year. Specifically, the letter mentions four instances where Iran’s actions have increased concerns and raised questions on their intentions.
Here is the letter that was sent:
As members of the House Armed Services Committee, we write with serious questions concerning the Department of Defense’s readiness and posture in the Middle East following the Obama Administration’s JCPOA with Iran.
As you are well aware, in the brief period since the agreement was reached in Vienna, the Iranian government and military have taken a number of actions that further our concerns regarding Iran’s untrustworthy behavior.
On July 24, just ten days after the agreement was reached in Vienna, Major General Qassem Suleimani, Commander of the Iranian Quds Force, travelled to Moscow, in direct violation of a United Nations travel ban, for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
On Aug. 18, a few weeks after General Suleimani’s trip to Moscow, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced a deal to purchase four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. The purchase is another concerning indication of aggressive behavior as Iran seeks to increase their anti-access/area denial capabilities and offers tremendous insight into their deceitful intentions.
On Sept. 9, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continued making inflammatory statements, referring to the United States as the ‘Great Satan’ and directly threatening the security of Israel by stating “[Israel] will not see the next 25 years, and with the grace of God, nothing called the Zionist regime will exist in the region.”
Finally, just this week, intelligence agencies testified that they believe an Iran slowed in developing a nuclear capability over the next 10 to 15 years is likely to pour more resources into cyber weapons. In addition to this investment, they are anticipating continued Iranian investment in hardening military facilities.
These actions, especially in light of the sanctions relief under the JCPOA that will provide a significant surge of cash into Iran, mean the US must have the necessary assets in place to monitor Iranian activities, harden our cyber systems at home and abroad and have our force postured to respond immediately.
This requires diligence in evaluating our forward basing options while maintaining an appropriate force mixture in the region coupled with adequate force protection measures. Further, we must not permit Iran to gain influence in neighboring countries or have an increased freedom to maneuver.
In light of these developments and in accordance with our Congressional oversight responsibility, the undersigned request a classified briefing on the actions taken by the Department of Defense to better position itself to respond to a more assertive and aggressive Iranian regime.
Your prompt attention to this request is appreciated.
Rep. Jackie Walorski, Rep. Bradley Byrne, Rep. Steve Russell, Rep. Chris Gibson, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Ryan Zinke, Rep. Richard Nugent