U.S. Defense Secretary Says Iran, Hizbullah Present Security Challenges

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has sought to reassure worried lawmakers on the nuclear deal with Iran and stressed that the Islamic Republic and its proxies, including Hizbullah, continue to be a threat.

Iran and its proxies still present security challenges, Carter said on Wednesday at a committee hearing as part of the White House's aggressive campaign to convince Congress to back the Iranian nuclear deal, which calls on Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

Carter noted Iran’s support of Hizbullah and the Assad regime in Syria, its contribution to disorder in Yemen and its hostility and violence toward Israel.

Congress, which has begun a 60-day review of the deal, is expected to vote in September. If the Republican-controlled Congress passes a resolution of disapproval for the deal, U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will veto it. The administration is hoping to secure the backing of Democrats to sustain the veto.

At the same hearing, General Martin Dempsey, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that Iran's ballistic missile, weapons trafficking, mine usage and related efforts were still a primary concern.

"We have to pay more attention to the malign activities," Dempsey said.



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