GOP lawmaker says U.S. should cripple Iranian economy

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the Trump administration to continue imposing sanctions on Iran, saying Tehran will be forced to negotiate a wind down of its nuclear enrichment program if the Iranian economy collapses.

“We want them to be more desperate,” McCaul told “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We want them to have their economy crippled.”

“We want them in a position where they have to negotiate with us and the coalition partners in the free world towards a better Iran for their people without nuclear weapons, and I think that is the ultimate goal,” he added.

McCaul’s remarks come as the Trump administration is slated impose new sanctions against Iran in the wake of escalating tensions between both countries in recent days. 

On Thursday, the president ordered the U.S. military to conduct a limited strike against Iran to retaliate for the downing of a Navy surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz, but then called off the operation just an hour before it was to begin. 

Asked if more sanctions would just increase the desperation in Iran and create more instability in the region, McCaul replied, “I think that’s what we want.”

The Texas Republican praised Mr. Trump for exercising “restraint” this week, saying the tense standoff with Iran was reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. He said the president’s strategy of maximum pressure against Iran is working and has proven to be more effective than the approach pushed by the Obama administration, which allied with European countries to broker a landmark deal with Iran to reduce its medium-enriched uranium stockpile in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions

McCaul accused President Obama of giving Iran “$150 billion in cash” and “reenergi[zing]” the country’s “terror operations” through the 2015 agreement, which Mr. Trump withdrew from in 2018. 

“I don’t think that one worked too well,” he added, referring to the nuclear deal.

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