President Donald Trump said that “nothing is off the table” in dealing with Iran following its test launch of a ballistic missile, and his fellow Republicans in Congress said they would back him up with new sanctions.
Trump comment was in response to a question about whether he would consider military options to respond to Tehran, a day after his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, put Iran “on notice.”
It was not clear what Trump meant. Every recent US president, including Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, has said that US military options were not off the table to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, said the United States should stop “appeasing” Tehran.
“I would be in favour of additional sanctions on Iran,” said Ryan at a weekly news conference. “I’d like to put as much toothpaste back in the tube as possible. I think the last administration appeased Iran far too much.”
Like every Republican in Congress, Ryan opposed the nuclear agreement with Iran that went into effect early last year. But Republican lawmakers said they were working with the Trump administration to push back on Iran as much as possible without risking the international uncertainty that would come with tearing up the pact.
“Now we have a partner that’s willing to deal with Iran in the way that Iran should be dealt with. … And so we’re in a real different ball game,” said Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Corker said his committee was “in the early stages” of working on legislation related to the nuclear issue.