Gen. Kenneth McKenzie warns that “Iran continues to pose the greatest threat to U.S. interests and the security of the region as a whole.”
By World Israel News Staff
Outgoing U.S. Central Command Commander (CENTCOM) Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said that Iran has an arsenal of some 3,000 ballistic missiles, many of which are capable of striking Israel.
“None of them can reach Europe yet, but over the last five to seven years … they have invested heavily in their ballistic missile program,” McKenzie told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
“Their missiles have significantly greater range and significantly enhanced accuracy,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program had progressed at a “remarkable” pace.
McKenzie, who served as the highest-ranking American military official in the Middle East, warned that “Iran continues to pose the greatest threat to U.S. interests and the security of the region as a whole.”
Beyond its nuclear program, Iran supports and arms regional proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, various militias that operate in Syria and Iraq, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which pose a threat to both the U.S. and its allies, including Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
He praised the integration of Israel into CENTCOM, saying that the addition of the Jewish State “opens the doors to numerous strategic opportunities—including by enabling CENTCOM to more closely align our regional partners against common threats, such as those posed by Tehran.”
Notably, McKenzie stated that he did not believe that Sunday’s missile attack on the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, Iraq, for which Iran has accepted responsibility, had intentionally targeted the American asset.
“We do not believe the attack of this last weekend, the ballistic missiles, was actually targeted against us,” he said, although he declined to state what he believed was the true target of the attack.
McKenzie credited the January 2020 assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which was ordered by former president Donald Trump, as a highly effective maneuver that restored deterrence against Iran.
“I think [Soleimani] is an abject lesson that you can’t attack Americans with impunity,” he explained.
“The Iranians have never doubted our capability, occasionally they doubt our will.”