In an interview Monday night with FOX News Channel's Ed Henry, Sen. Tom Cotton warned that if Iran does not start to act like a "civilized nation," the U.S. will be forced to retaliate. He also said he as "disappointed" by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that President Trump has inflamed tensions with Iran.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: How serious is this tonight, the president and the Pentagon authorizing 1,000 more U.S. troops to the middle east?
SEN. TOM COTTON: Ed, this kind of deployment is a prudent measure to build up the force protection posture and the permanent base bases in the region, like in Qatar and Bahrain, as well as contingency forces we have in places like Iraq. It will help with the surveillance for the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman against unprovoked attacks on the commercial shipping on the high seas that Iran conducted with the two tankers or in a port laps month against four tankers.
ED HENRY: Before this announcement, the "New York Times" said in an editorial the incident is the latest evidence that the United States and Iran are on a collision course, at a moment that hardliners on both sides have little interest in any diplomatic off-ramp. I wonder what you think in the next 12 months we will be talking about a hot war in the middle east?
TOM COTTON: Ed, if the United States and Iran are on a collision course it's only because Iran continues the 40-year low-level war against the United States to the point of provoking retaliatory military strikes. Let's remember the Ayatollah seized power in 1979 and immediately invaded our sovereign soil and held hostage for 400 days. In 1997-1998 Iran did the thing they are doing now, attacking commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf and in the Strait of Hormuz, to the point that Ronald Reagan had to conduct retaliatory military strikes against the Iranian military and naval facilities. What Iran did warrants retaliatory strikes and it is up to Iran if they want to behave like a civilized normal nation and whether they want to continue to conduct these kinds of terrorist attacks.
ED HENRY: You laid out stubborn facts. Nancy Pelosi, as probably doesn't surprise you, disagrees with probably all of it. Listen to what she says.
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, 16 JUNE 2019: He comes in and undoes that. Enflames the U.S.-Iran issue. Why? What is the purpose? I'm not going to accuse anybody of instigating anything but for not having a policy that would smooth the waters, so to speak... I think he probably knows there is no appetite for war among the American people.
ED HENRY: I imagine you know she says, "He" she is talking about the president of the united states. She is saying he inflamed the situation by tearing apart the Obama nuclear deal.
TOM COTTON: Ed, I have to say I'm surprised and disappointed that Nancy Pelosi sounds like she is siding with the ayatollah a few days after they attacked the commercial vessels in the open seas in the Gulf of Oman. Look, Iran has engaged in this, for many years. After the Obama deal, they were still supplying the rebel proxies in Yemen with missiles to attack shipping vessels and even American vessels. They continue to support terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They continue to support attacks on Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the same kind of attack that killed more than 500 Americans in Iraq. Iran is solely responsible for the tension in the middle east. If they want to ratchet down that tension, they can behave like a normal nation. If they don't they will face the full might of the American military sooner or later.