Politics

Rand Paul: ‘Death of Soleimani Is the Death of Diplomacy with Iran’

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who angled to serve as a backchannel between Iran and President Donald Trump last year, said the demise of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani marked the "death of diplomacy with Iran."

"It lessens the voices of anybody that wants moderation or diplomacy, and even the Iranians will not be able to approach us on diplomacy until there's revenge, until there is adequate revenge to satiate the people who want some kind of revenge," Paul told CNN on Monday. "This is sad. The death of Soleimani, I think, is the death of diplomacy with Iran. I don't see an off-ramp. I don't see a way out of this."

Paul predicted "military escalation" from Iran in response, saying that Iranian attacks against Americans were more likely and further negotiations were less likely in the aftermath of Soleimani's death.

Trump last week ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad, angering Iran and sparking calls for violent retaliation. The Trump administration said the strike was ordered to prevent planned attacks by Soleimani, the terrorist leader of Iran's Quds Force.

An isolationist and White House ally, Paul tried to arrange an Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last year. On Monday, the Trump administration blocked Zarif from entering the United States to address the United Nations, where he planned to condemn Soleimani's killing.