WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Israel lacks the missile defense protection needed to deter a ballistic strike from Iran, making it a candidate for U.S. defense assistance, an advocate says.
Iran during its Sacred Defense Week test fired long-range missiles capable of reaching several targets in Europe and the Middle East, including Israel. The tests coincide with the revelation of a previously undisclosed nuclear site in the holy city of Qom.
Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, argues Israel lacks the missile defense needed to deter the Iranian ballistic threat.
He claims it is "paramount" that the United States provides Israel with missile defense systems like the Patriot and Aegis systems as part of a new defense architecture envisioned for Europe.
Ellison notes that threat assessments in Iran from the U.S. intelligence community have not changed, adding Iran is determined to develop strike capabilities by 2015.
He cautions that if Israel is not able to protect itself with an adequate defense program, it may be provoked to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran.
Ellison concludes this is a "gamble" to national security interests in the region that Washington cannot risk.