GOP senator says Iran needs to 'stop acting like an outlaw'

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonUS officials express optimism negotiations with Iran possible Cotton: 'Healthy skepticism warranted' when dealing with Democrats on immigration Cotton: I hope Trump's statement 'got through' to Iran's leaders MORE (R-Ark.) praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE’s handling of relations with Iran, saying the “rogue regime” needs change its behavior and “stop acting like an outlaw.”

“We want Iran to change its behavior," Cotton, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told Hill.TV during an interview on Friday. 

"We want Iran to stop acting like an outlaw, rogue regime that supports terrorism throughout the region and tries to destabilize governments throughout the region,” he continued.

The Arkansas Republican also defended Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal, an Obama-era agreement that was aimed at limiting Tehran’s nuclear program. 

“Part of the problem is that it didn’t really stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, it may have slowed it briefly but it wouldn’t stop them forever, which is the stated goal,” he said. “It also gave them billions and billions of dollars of economic relief through lifting the sanctions.”

The comments come amid rising U.S.-Iran tensions over the past few weeks.

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. will send roughly 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter Iran's influence in the region, and earlier this month National Security Adviser John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Trump told confidant that national security advisers 'want to push us into war': report Pence: 'We're not convinced' downing of drone was 'authorized at the highest levels' MORE warned that any threat from Iran would be met with "unrelenting force."

Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for a more cautious approach, pointing to Iraq as a warning sign of the consequences of war with Iran.

"I was right about Vietnam. I was right about Iraq. I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran. I apologize to no one," Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Progressive group launches campaign to identify voters who switch to Warren MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic contender, tweeted about his opposition to armed conflicts.

—Tess Bonn