Iran is likely to attack more Western targets in the Middle East soon, and the United States will need to respond, Mac Thornberry of Texas, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview Thursday.

“I expect Iran will take further provocative actions in the coming weeks,” Thornberry said on a C-SPAN “Newsmakers” program set to air Friday night.

Noting Iran’s leaders have faced a month of demonstrations in which hundreds of Iranians have reportedly died, Thornberry predicted Iranian rulers will “lash out and try to find an external enemy.”

He added that Iran has yet to respond to an attack on one of its oil tankers in October and that retaliation may be coming.

“I do think it’s important to have a response,” Thornberry said, without specifying any particular type of military strike, covert action or other step. Iran is “going to have to have some sort of pushback or they will continue to be more aggressive.”

Thornberry has long been the House Republican Caucus’ leading voice on national security issues. He has announced plans to retire next year.


Iran’s military and its proxy militias have unleashed a bevy of belligerent actions in the Mideast in the past year: downing a U.S. drone, attacking commercial ships at sea, bombing a Saudi Arabian oil facility, flying armed drones over U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria, and launching rockets on U.S. troops, to name a few.

“Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region have increased in recent months,” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said at the same hearing that Iran had better be “very, very cautious,” suggesting a U.S. military response was a distinct possibility.

In June, Trump called off a strike against Iran at the last minute.

Some 14,000 U.S. troops have been sent to the region in response to Iran’s actions, and thousands more may go. But U.S. guns are quiet for now.

Source » rollcall