WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today sought answers from James Clapper Jr., Director of National Intelligence, and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess Jr., Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, on the pending nuclear threat posed by Iran.
“Today’s hearing reaffirmed my fears for our nation’s current and future safety,” said Inhofe. “As President Obama continues to fulfill campaign promises by pursuing policies that disarm our national defenses and reduce our nuclear arsenal to dangerous levels, other countries like Iran and North Korea are currently developing state-of-the-art missile systems and nuclear technologies. China remains in pursuit of modernizing and increasing their nuclear arsenal and Russia outnumbers our nuclear arsenal ten to one with 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons. That is above the 1550 strategic weapons already allowed under the new START Treaty.
Inhofe continued, “In order to gain support from some Senators for the new START Treaty, President Obama pledged to Congress to modernize the current assets in our nuclear triad to ensure viability and reliability. To date, no modernization has occurred and many of our systems are well beyond their expected service life. Any further reduction below the 1,550 weapons agreed to under the treaty will endanger our national security along with the 30 countries that depend on our nuclear umbrella for support and defense. The purpose of our nuclear triad, to prevent and deter aggression while providing the capacity for a retaliatory strike, is fundamentally essential to ensuring the United States remains a capable deterrent. I voted against the new START Treaty and I am firmly opposed to any further reductions.
“I echo Director Clapper’s sentiment that, with the nuclear threat from Iran, America faces the most complex threat seen since the Cold War. Enemies of our nation will stop at nothing in their quest to hurt Americans and our way of life. In the post 9/11 world, it’s foolish to believe otherwise. As recent news reports have proven, Iran continues to pursue a nuclear capability. Currently, Iran’s enrichment of Uranium-235 is well past the required amount for civil nuclear reactors. There is only one reason why a country enriches Uranium-235 past the 20 percent level and that is for the development of nuclear weapons. The world cannot accept a nuclear armed Iran. Now is the time to take all steps necessary to prevent that from occurring.”Inhofe questioned Clapper on Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities and pressed the National Intelligence Director on Obama’s proposed reduction in our nuclear arsenal by up to 80 percent.