- GOP Sen. Rand Paul on Friday said “there will be war with Iran” after the US assassinated Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the country’s top military leader.
- “I think, that there will be an escalation, that there will be a war with Iran,” Paul said.
- Paul, who has garnered a reputation as perhaps the most anti-war Republican in Congress, added, “Unfortunately, diplomacy is dead now in the Middle East with Iran.”
- The Kentucky Republican’s remarks stood in stark contrast with Trump’s comments on the assassination on Friday afternoon.
- Trump said the US killed Soleimani to “stop a war,” even as Iran issued threats and vowed to avenge his death.
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Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Friday said “there will be war with Iran” after the US killed its top general in an airstrike in Iraq, a move he characterised as a “the death of diplomacy.”
In an interview with Fox News on Friday, the Kentucky senator said, “I think, that there will be an escalation, that there will be a war with Iran.”
Paul, who has garnered a reputation as perhaps the most staunchly anti-interventionist Republican in Congress, added, “I do fear that the Iranians are going to escalate this… I do not see any avenue or any way that talks could begin again. And I have been one in favour of talks. But I think, unfortunately, diplomacy is dead now in the Middle East with Iran.”
The isolationist Republican senator has often spoken out against the hawkish leanings of his GOP colleagues in the Senate, and was involved in efforts over the summer aimed at reducing tensions with Iran – including by meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Paul’s efforts, which were blessed by Trump, were ultimately unsuccessful as the Trump administration issued sanctions against Zarif not long after.
Paul’s comments on Friday came after the Pentagon on Thursday announced that the US, under the direct orders of President Donald Trump, had targeted and killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The Kentucky Republican’s remarks stood in stark contrast with Trump’s comments on the assassination on Friday afternoon.
Trump said the US killed Soleimani to “stop a war,” even as Iran issued threats and vowed to avenge his death.
“We take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over,” Trump said of Soleimani, adding: “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
Trump, reading a statement in Mar-a-Lago, claims assassinating Soleimani was "to stop a war."
"We took action last night to stop a war. We do not take action to start a war." pic.twitter.com/jkqmz0gQhq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 3, 2020
“I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people, with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential,” Trump added “We do not seek regime change. However, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbours, must end, and it must end now.”
Soleimani, who was the leader of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has been linked to the deaths of hundreds of US service members and was considered a terrorist by the US. Trump named the IRGC a terrorist organisation in April.
- Read more:
- Iran’s ‘forceful revenge’ against the US is likely to include cyberwarfare, and experts warn that the attacks could be devastating
- Trump has no clear strategy if Iran makes good on its vow to avenge the killing of a top general, experts say
- This map shows where US-Iran tensions have flared in Iraq, which culminated in the strike killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani
- How the Trump administration got into a showdown with Iran that could lead to war