Tags: Iran | North Korea | mac thornberry | iran | following | north korea | patterns

Thornberry: Iran Following NKorea's Patterns on Missile Launches

Fox News' "America's Newsroom"

By    |   Thursday, 27 July 2017 02:29 PM

News that Iran launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space on Thursday adds to the worry about launches and threats coming from North Korea, Rep. Mac Thornberry said Thursday.

"We saw this pattern with North Korea," the Texas Republican, who chairs House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program. "They would have launches that they said were peaceful space launches. What they were really doing was improving their missile program, and so while we have all been focused on North Korea's improvements on missiles that can reach the United States, the Iranians have been doing the same thing."

So, in addition to the worry about missiles being launched from North Korea, "we've increasingly got to worry about the Iranian missile program, which by the way, is not constrained at all under the treaty dealing with nuclear weapons that the Obama administration signed."

According to Iranian state television, the launch involved a "Simorgh" (or "phoenix, in Farsi) rocket capable of carrying a satellite weighing 250 kilograms, or 550 pounds. Information was not reported about the rocket's payload.

The launch comes as the United States has criticized Iran's ballistic missile tests.

New rounds of sanctions against Iran, Russian, and North Korea have been passed and are heading to President Donald Trump's desk. Thornberry explained the measures also include secondary sanctions, which would affect countries that do business with the three nations, such as the business conducted between China and North Korea.

"Hopefully this will be more effective, but I think we have to be clear eyed," said Thornberry. "Sanctions will only do so much. There is no substitute for strong, military power."

Earlier this month, Fox News' Charles Krauthammer said in an opinion piece that the only option left for North Korea may be war, and Thornberry said he tends to agree with him.

"What we've done in the past has not worked," said Thornberry. "China, unless there is a new incentive, has not so far shown that they are going to rein North Korea in. My view is we've got to put more military capability right there in the region on China's doorstep and make it clear that if they want to reduce our military presence in the region, whether it's missile defense ships, airplanes, whatever, then they are going to have to do more with North Korea."

China is testing the United States, said Thornberry, but it is "not inevitable that we are going to be enemies with China."

However, China respects what Russia, Iran, and North Korea respects, he continued, and "that is military strength" at a time when the United States' military is not as strong as it should be.

"We've been cutting the military budgets during the last several years, and so Congress is trying to turn that around now," said Thornberry. "I think that will show China and everybody else that we're willing to stand up and defend ourselves and our allies. That's what we have to do to make an impression."

Thornberry also said Thursday there was "complete surprise" on Wednesday when Trump tweeted that transgender individuals will not be permitted to serve in the military.

"It was a complete surprise to the Department of Defense and so we don't know if that means they will kick people out who are there, we don't know if that means they aren't going to allow people who need no treatment to come in," said Thornberry. "There are lots of questions to be answered. I think the standard should be that we need people in the military who can fight, and if they can meet those standards, if they can fight, then the rest of this stuff probably doesn't matter. If they can't fight, however, the military cannot be a social program for some other agenda."

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News that Iran launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space on Thursday adds to the worry about launches and threats coming from North Korea, Rep. Mac Thornberry said Thursday.
mac thornberry, iran, following, north korea, patterns, missile launches
Thursday, 27 July 2017 02:29 PM
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