Senator DeMint First to Welcome Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Back to Office
Two weeks ago I took a trip to Europe and the Middle East. It was an honor to be the first member of the United States government to welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back to office. After meeting with him and many other leaders in Jerusalem during my visit, it is clear to me that Israel remains committed to a strong, special friendship with the United States.
However, during my trip it became evident that the U.S. policies in the Middle East are changing in a way that could undermine efforts to ensure peace and security in the region. The shared principles and values that unite Israel and the United States are at risk, and at the heart of the problem lies Iran.
Whether it is their exportation of terrorism, their funding and arming of Hamas and Hezbollah, or their single-minded pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Iranian regime's behavior poses a clear and present danger to Israel. And no ally of the United States should have to live in fear of state-sponsored terror.
No evidence exists suggesting a diminishment of Iran's penchant for violence and international mischief. Just last week, Iran announced it had enough centrifuges to produce enough uranium for a nuclear bomb. It is only a matter of time until Tehran, an unrepentant nexus of nuclear weapons and organized terrorism, represents the world's biggest threat to the security of the United States, Israel, and the rest of the Middle East. Therefore, I believe it is time the United States confronts Iranian influence in the Middle East and takes the necessary steps toward improving the peace and prosperity of the region.
The United States should impose serious and targeted sanctions on Iran, including limits on their supply of refined gasoline. Unfortunately, the Obama administration would rather talk to Iran in the vain hope that its apocalyptic tyrants don't actually want to produce a nuclear weapon. Such naiveté not only further erodes Israel's security and destabilizes the entire Middle East, but it also subtly encourages Iran's continued and unpunished mischief.
The Obama administration needs to stand by our allies, not force a false peace upon them. Though it is clear to me that Israel remains committed to working with the United States, we must do our part to protect Israel from Iran-sponsored terror, ultimately ensuring our friendship with them. If the administration wants to help Israel and the Palestinians, it needs to confront Iran and undo Iran's capacity to support the terrorists that hold the entire region in a state of perpetual oppression.