April 07, 2022

Risch Joins Cotton, Colleagues in Calling on Biden to Provide Israel with Support to Defend Itself from Iran

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in a letter to President Joe Biden urging the administration to provide Israel with the military capabilities it needs to defend itself and to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear-weapons capability.

In part, the senators wrote, “Your administration appears intent on striking a new nuclear deal with Iran that will provide the regime with a pathway to nuclear weapons. A nuclear-armed Iran would have major negative regional implications. It would put at risk the existence of the State of Israel and the governments of our Arab allies, destroy America’s position in the Middle East, and ultimately threaten the U.S. homeland. A course-correction is necessary.”

“We therefore urge your administration to take immediate action to provide Israel with the military capabilities it needs to defend itself from Iran,” the senators continued.

The letter is supported by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Christians United for Israel (CUFI), Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

Text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear President Biden,

We write to urge you to provide Israel with the military capabilities it needs to defend itself and prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear-weapons capability.

As you know, Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal, its support for terrorism, and its other destabilizing activities pose grave threats to the United States and our allies and partners in the Middle East. The Iranian regime arms the Houthis in Yemen with the missiles and drones that they use to attack civilian targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Iran equips Hezbollah and Hamas with tens of thousands of rockets, including the more than 4,000 rockets which Hamas fired at Israeli civilians last May. Last month, Iran escalated its attacks against Americans in Iraq, firing a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian soil at the U.S. consulate in Erbil.

Meanwhile, your administration appears intent on striking a new nuclear deal with Iran that will provide the regime with a pathway to nuclear weapons. A nuclear-armed Iran would have major negative regional implications. It would put at risk the existence of the State of Israel and the governments of our Arab allies, destroy America’s position in the Middle East, and ultimately threaten the U.S. homeland. A course-correction is necessary.

We therefore urge your administration to take immediate action to provide Israel with the military capabilities it needs to defend itself from Iran. Most importantly, since the purchase has already been approved, your administration must expedite the delivery of KC-46A aerial refueling tankers to Israel as rapidly as possible without interrupting deliveries to our own Air Force. Accelerating delivery of tactical aircraft like the F-35I and F-15I and helicopters like the CH-53K would continue to bolster Israel’s ability to defend itself. While providing improved tactical aircraft is vital, your administration must also ensure that Israel retains adequate stockpiles of U.S.-made precision guided munitions. Finally, you must ensure that Israel possesses robust, multi-layered air defenses to mitigate attacks by Iran and its proxies, to include continued support for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow systems.

Your administration must urgently fulfill America’s obligation to help Israel defend itself by giving it the tools it needs to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Sincerely,

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