Sen. Cotton Discusses Iran Tensions and Tanker Seizure

'We've totally crushed them with our sanctions'

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) / Getty Images
July 23, 2019

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) discussed recent tensions with Iran Tuesday during a radio appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Hewitt asked Cotton for his thoughts on President Donald Trump's recent comments on Iran, in which he argued that the regime was enduring great economic and domestic difficulties. Trump also said Iran had lied by denying that the U.S. had shot down an Iranian drone, and that reports Iran had detained CIA spies were untrue.

Cotton said he agreed with Trump's assessment of the Iranian regime. "Their economy is on the verge of a depression," Cotton said. "We've totally crushed them with our sanctions, taking hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, away from them that would go to terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. And [Trump] summed up what they're doing. They're lashing out right now because of the constraints of those sanctions, and they fear the last remnant of the nuclear deal will fall apart as well."

Cotton then touched on the seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker by Iranian forces this week in the Strait of Hormuz.

"Of course, the British are justified in using force to reclaim one of their vessels that was hijacked by Iranian pirates and taken hostage inside of Iran," Cotton said. "I'd be surprised if the British people are going to stand for long the ayatollahs hijacking their ships and taking their fellow citizens hostage. In the United States, I'm confident we'll stand with our British allies."

The senator then suggested that Britain and other allies should unite in pursuing a security initiative in the Persian Gulf to oppose Iran.

As Congress works toward completing a budget deal, Cotton said the budget must allocate funds for the construction of new naval ships.

"No matter how advanced, how technologically superior our ships are, a ship cannot be in both the South China Sea to counteract China, the Persian Gulf to counteract Iran, and the Mediterranean or the North Atlantic to counteract Russia at the same time," Cotton said.