Stefanik has strong words for Iran

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville (Photo — Adam Colver, Post-Star)

Rep. Elise Stefanik called Iran a “rogue regime” Friday after President Donald Trump called off U.S. military strikes he had previously approved against that country.

“The recent acts of aggression by Iran are exactly why I firmly opposed the misguided Iran Deal under the Obama Administration,” Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, wrote in an email. “It is clear that this rogue regime continues to follow historical precedence and never had any intention of building a productive relationship with the United States.”

The strikes would have been in retaliation to the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone. Iran said the drone was in its airspace, but the U.S. said it was in international airspace.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights (sic) when I asked, how many will die,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it.”

Relations between the two countries have been tense recently. In May 2018 the U.S. pulled out of a multi-nation deal that lifted economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for containing its nuclear development, and now Iran is set to breach the uranium enriching limits of that deal by June 27. Also, the U.S. blames Iran’s military for the bombing of two oil tankers last week, and then Iran shot down the unmanned U.S. drone on Wednesday.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — which is still held by France, Germany, Russia, China and the United Kingdom — held off sanctions on Iran’s trade if it stayed below certain limits regarding uranium enrichment.

President Donald Trump reinstated sanctions on Iran when he backed out of the deal in May 2018, calling the deal weak and saying that Iran was building its nuclear program regardless.

“Last week Israel published intelligence documents … conclusively showing the Iranian’s regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons,” Trump said.

“I support President Trump’s decision to withdraw and believe we must impose sanctions on the Iranian regime immediately,” Stefanik wrote at the time. “We must also work with our allies in the region to ensure Iran does not become a nuclear power.” Iran’s atomic energy agency recently announced it had quadrupled production of enriched uranium.

Stefanik voted against the JCPOA in 2015. She sits on the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

Trump warned Iran of the imminent strike through the nearby country of Oman, stating he is against any war with Iran and wants to talk to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei soon. Khamenei, through an Iranian official, said the leader is against talks with Trump.

“Our country must continue to respond in a measured approach,” Stefanik wrote. “I trust our national security and military leaders to make the right decisions going forward. Iran must know that The United States will not let acts of aggression go unanswered.”

The Enterprise asked Stefanik about Iran Thursday at the end of an interview on other topics, but she ended the phone conversation shortly after, saying she would discuss Iran later. Her spokesperson Madison Anderson denied a request for a second interview due to scheduling issues and said the congresswoman would be available for more comment on Iran next week.