A high-level Obama insider said Washington wants to assist in fielding an integrated ballistic missile shield for Gulf allies, Reuters reports.
The planned antimissile deployments would be an answer to Iran’s growing ballistic missile capacities, Frank Rose, deputy assistant secretary of State for space and defense policy, told journalists in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The United States and its partners fear that Iran’s ballistic missiles may be able to accommodate nuclear payloads. However, the Middle Eastern nation has refused to discuss the arms in talks in which Western powers are seeking to limit atomic activities that Tehran could tap for bomb development.
“As long as Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles that can threaten the United States or deployed forces and our friends and allies in the region, we will work effectively with our partners here in the [United Arab Emirates] as well as the rest of the Gulf to defend against that threat,” Rose said.
He aired optimism, though, about the potential for “a successful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue.”
Iran, which insists its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, on Sunday reaffirmed its position that ballistic missiles “have not and will not be the subject of any negotiations,” the nation’s Fars News Agency reported. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added it is “wrong to assume that the only application [of the missiles] is carrying unconventional weapons.”
Still, an unnamed U.S. government source referenced the U.N. Security Council’s 2010 prohibition on all Iranian efforts involving nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
“In some way, this will have to be addressed,” the high-level insider told Reuters.
Meanwhile, an Iranian military officer announced trial flights of several new medium-range ballistic missiles, Fars News reported on Sunday.
“The laboratory production of these missiles has started and one or two samples have been test-fired,” Iranian Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan said.
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.