Bob Corker: Iran missile tests demand ‘multi-faceted’ US response

A key Senate Republican said Monday Iran’s test of two ballistic missiles over the weekend require a firm response from the U.S.

“These provocative tests are just the latest example of Iran’s dangerous actions that demand a coordinated, multi-faceted response from the United States,” said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Reports said the tests could help Iran target U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. In addition, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps fast-attack vessels navigated to within 600 yards of American and British Navy ships — the Western ships changed course in response to the approach.

Those actions coincided with North Korea launching four missiles in the direction of Japanese territorial waters, in an apparent protest of joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

“Between North Korea’s saber-rattling and Iran’s willful defiance, we certainly don’t lack for evidence of these rogue regime’s intentions,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a Monday statement. “This is why we need to develop a strong missile-defense system and to take a harder line toward these regimes. No amount of words, however clear or forceful, will prevent this kind of aggression; only firm action to defend America and our allies will stop them in their tracks.”

Iran launched the two missiles in order to test their ability to strike floating targets. The first short-range ballistic missile, fired on Saturday, missed its target. But Sunday’s test was more successful. “It was not immediately clear if this was the first successful test at sea — raising concerns for the U.S. Navy, which operates warships in the area,” Fox noted.

The missile tests, particularly by North Korea, are stoking Republican interest in missile defense spending.

“The American people should have confidence in our missile defense system, yet we must continue to modernize and invest in new capabilities,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said Monday. “More advanced kill vehicles, new boosters, and additional interceptors are all needed to keep us ahead of this rapidly evolving threat. The time to invest is now.”

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