Presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) attempted to justify Iran's attack on vital oil facilities in Saudi Arabia as "retaliatory."
"This latest attack on Saudi Arabia is a retaliatory attack because of all the sanctions that are in place that are essentially blocking Iran from selling their oil on the market," Gabbard said Tuesday on CNN.
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She also argued the United States cannot enter a cycle of retaliation with Iran due to the high costs of a war, saying conflict with Iran would make the Iraq War look like a "picnic." Gabbard pledged to reverse the Trump administration's maximum pressure strategy if elected president.
"What I would do is reenter the Iran nuclear agreement, take away those sanctions that have been put in place so that Iran is brought back into an agreement where they are complying, we have inspectors going in," Gabbard said. "Every single day that this doesn't happen, Iran is moving forward towards developing a nuclear weapon."
"Our troops deploying now to Saudi Arabia at his direction are not there serving the interests of the American people or our own national security," she added.
Iran has continued to deny involvement in the strikes on the Saudi oil facilities. The country warned the United States it would retaliate with a "rapid and crushing" response if attacked. The United Kingdom, France, and Germany joined the United States in blaming Iran for the attacks. Leaders from the three countries urged an easing of tensions in the Middle East and called for Iran to avoid "provocation and escalation."
President Donald Trump said the sanctions themselves were retaliatory, pointing to Iran's antagonism in the region and support for terrorism abroad. "As long as Iran's menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted, they will be tightened," he said at the United Nations on Tuesday.