Clapper: Iran’s Ballistic Missile Launches Are ‘Deliberate Message of Defiance’

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified on Tuesday that Iran’s ballistic missile launches since the nuclear deal was inked last summer constituted a “deliberate message of defiance.”

Clapper told Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) during an Armed Services Committee hearing that he expects Iran will continue an “aggressive program to develop their missile force.”

“What do you make of the fact that the Iranians did in fact, post-JCPOA, in violation of existing U.N. resolutions, make two launches of ballistic missiles?” Ayotte asked. “I think you were asked about the sanctions that were put in place. Let’s just be clear. Those sanctions weren’t very tough. Do you think that those are going to deter Iran from continuing to develop its ICBM program?”

“Well, the Iranians have conducted some 140 launches since the original U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929. It was imposed in 2010,” Clapper said. “And so, 70 of those, about half of them, were done during the negotiations … As far as these two launches are concerned, I think this was a deliberate message of defiance, and that the Iranians are going to continue with their aggressive program to develop their missile force.”

Iran’s ballistic missile launches were banned in 2010 by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, and Fox News reported the day after Iran signed the nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers, the U.N. passed Resolution 2231, “which compels Iran to refrain from any work on ballistic missiles for 8 years.”

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