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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Oklahoman: Lankford cautions against disproportionate response to Iran

June 22, 2019
News Stories

Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

U.S. Sen. James Lankford and U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Friday they were concerned about recent provocative acts by Iran but that a measured response was the best course for now.

“I do think whatever response we do needs to be proportionate,” Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said in an interview.

“The president is not afraid to take military action as he did in Syria to push back after the chemical weapon attack. But I do think it’s important to not dial it up and have it be a disproportionate response.”

Cole, R-Moore, said in remarks released by his office, that recent attacks by Iran on tankers and on a U.S. drone were “very, very troubling.”

“The president I think is trying to find a measured response to all this,” Cole said.

“We want to send a message to the Iranians that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and that if you strike American targets, there’s going to be a swift response.

“On the other hand, I don’t think the president wants to go to war with Iran, and is trying to send that message that he’s willing to sit down and talk but not while the Iranians are engaged in provocative activity.”

The Oklahoma lawmakers’ comments came a day after President Donald Trump called off a retaliatory attack he had ordered because it wasn’t proportionate.

The president tweeted Thursday night: “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it …”

Lankford said he had not been briefed on what options had been on the table.

He called the recent actions by Iran “bizarre.”

“We’re dialing up only our statements of deterrence. Moving a carrier into the area a couple of weeks early, moving troops in the area is a deterrence.

“But for them to take kinetic actions against ships and against aircraft — that’s not deterrence.

“I think we continue to use what they’re doing to help explain to the world why sanctions are so important against Iran and try to build a worldwide coalition to try to isolate them.”

Online: Oklahoman