- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Iran taunted Israel and defied the U.S. on Wednesday with another test-firing of ballistic missiles, while presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tried to talk tougher than the Obama administration in calling for fresh sanctions against Tehran.

One of Iran’s missiles was inscribed in Hebrew with the phrase “Israel should be wiped off the Earth,” Iranian news media reported.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it test-fired several ballistic missiles as part of a military exercise, in apparent violation of U.N. sanctions.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration would “take a close look” at the missile launches and pledged to “redouble our efforts” to limit Iran’s development of its missile program. But administration officials didn’t specify what steps they might take.

President Obama has faced a volley of criticism from Capitol Hill over Iran’s missile tests this week. Lawmakers said Mr. Obama’s response has not been strong enough and exposes flaws in the president’s nuclear deal with Iran signed last year.

Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, said she is “deeply concerned” about the Iranian missile tests and the anti-Israel rhetoric.

“This rhetoric is repulsive and has no place in the community of nations, and as president, I will continue to stand with Israel against such threats,” she said in a statement. “Iran should face sanctions for these activities, and the international community must demonstrate that Iran’s threats toward Israel will not be tolerated.”

Iranian state media said the second round of ballistic missile tests was conducted during a military drill, in spite of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Tehran to refrain from such tests and in the face of U.S. sanctions imposed earlier this year.

In Vienna, U.S. diplomats went public with a demand that the U.N. atomic agency continue providing details on Iran’s compliance with a deal intended to crimp its nuclear work.

The U.S. and partner nations that negotiated the deal with Iran say the agency’s latest report is too light on specifics but are keen not to jeopardize the agreement, so most of those concerns have been voiced privately.

Although Obama officials haven’t determined whether the testing violates international law, Mrs. Clinton said the missile launches constitute a “blatant violation of Iran’s U.N. Security Council obligations, and such violations must have consequences.”

On the campaign trail, the former secretary of state has supported the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran and has taken credit for paving the way for the agreement during Mr. Obama’s first term. But on Wednesday, she called for the U.S. to “address Iran’s destabilizing activities across the region, while vigorously enforcing the nuclear deal.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, speaking at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, said if Iran breaks terms of the nuclear deal, “we will act.”

Mr. Biden also condemned a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel during his visit, including the stabbing death of an American veteran. Taylor Force, 28, a West Point graduate who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was killed while touring Israel as part of a student trip sponsored by Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.

The vice president said one of the attacks was near the restaurant where his wife, Jill, and grandchildren were dining. He said it was a reminder that terrorism can strike “anywhere at any time.”

“Let me say in no uncertain terms: The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn,” Mr. Biden said in apparent reference to Palestinian officials. “This cannot be viewed by civilized leaders as an appropriate way in which to behave. … It’s just not tolerable in the 21st century.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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