Madam Speaker, it's official. Iran now is capable of firing long-range missiles into southern Europe, Israel, and at U.S. troops in the Middle East.
This story broke yesterday morning when news agencies all over the world reported that Iran successfully test-fired nine medium- to long-range missiles with ranges of 1,200 miles or more that could carry nuclear weapons.
Madam Speaker, here's a map of the area. Here's Iran in the green. Next door is Iraq. Here's Syria. And, of course, this small area here is Israel. Weapons that they have fired are now capable of reaching Israel if Iran so desires.
Iranian leaders say these supposed to send a message to the United States and to Israel. The message: Iran has no problem attacking if they so desire.
The world is threatened by North Korea, Syria, and Iran, all developing nuclear capabilities while denying they have mischief in mind. The most dangerous, of course, is Iran.
The administration claims that the U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from threatening U.S. interests. But what does that mean? We have heard that line before. We've heard it the last time the U.N. imposed sanctions and told Iran to straighten up or else. And Iran just ignored the U.N. and the United States.
It's pretty clear that Iran's aggressive weapons development is part of a calculated plan to destroy their enemies. Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, the U.S. and Israel are at the top of Iran's hate list.
The LA Times recently reported that the little fellow from Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said, ``The Zionist regime of Israel is about to die and will soon be erased from the scene.'' And, ``The time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the countdown to annihilation has started.''
The devil of the desert, Ahmadinejad, is preaching hate and murder, which puts the rest of the world in danger as well. For those folks who might be willing to give Iran the benefit of the doubt, let's take a walk down memory lane and consider some of the recent facts.
In August of 2002, allegations were made that Iran was building a uranium enrichment facility, a component necessary for nuclear weapon technology. In December of 2002, satellite images confirmed the site. Then, after being caught in 2003, Iran agreed to allow U.N. inspectors in the country to inspect their facilities. But shortly after the inspections, Iran removed the inspectors' cameras and began nuclear development again.
In September of 2003, more enriched uranium was found. Caught again. In October, Iran pledged that if they could develop peaceful, civilian nuclear technology, they would suspend uranium enrichment activities. However, less than a month later, we learned that Iran didn't hold up to their end of the bargain. Big surprise, Madam Speaker. They lied and were caught again.
In 2004, we learned from the United Nations inspectors that Iran violated obligations under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and had been doing so for 18 years. Then Iran refused to allow U.N. inspectors back into their country. In 2005, Iran finally permitted U.N. inspectors to conducted limited inspections and, only after Iran had enough time to sanitize the facilities, were the inspectors allowed in the country.
Then, at the end of 2005, an agreement to suspend uranium enrichment was broken when Ahmadinejad became President. Iran started its nuclear program once again. In 2006, the U.N. ordered Iran to suspend enrichment. Iran did not comply. Later that year, the U.N. issued another order demanding that Iran stop enrichment, and Iran refused, and rejected even an incentive package.
The U.N. passed more resolutions demanding that Iran suspend its enrichment, and all have basically been ignored. Not only has Iran's dictator been stubbornly defiant in complying with these international demands, he has openly mocked U.S. attempts to keep Iran from developing nuclear technology through diplomacy.
In fact, just recently one of Iran's military commanders was quoted as saying that Iran's, ``hands are always on the trigger and missiles are always ready to be launched.'' Do those gunslingers sound like the kind of people we can with reason with? How many more United Nations resolutions have to be issued, how many more sanctions imposed? How many more chances are we willing to give this trigger-happy regime? It's pretty clear what we are doing now is not working.
So the question, Madam Speaker, is: Does the United States have a plan to deal with this crisis, or are we going to have to wait for Iran to deploy a nuclear missile before we wake up and realize that we need a plan. The U.S. intelligence community says that Iran can have nuclear weapons as early as 2010. That is just 2 years away. We already know Iran has long-range missile capability. Put those two together and our world is in a rude awakening very soon.
Iran is not a joke. It's a threat to the whole world. The government of Iran and, more importantly, the American people need to know what the United States' position and plan is. We know what Ahmadinejad's plan is. It's full of malice toward the United States and Israel and his intentions are fatally bent on mischief.
And that's just the way it is.