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

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonZuckerberg defends meetings with conservative politicians, pundits Bipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats On The Money: Fed officials saw rising risk of recession | Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz blast NBA for 'outrageous' response to China | Prospects dim for trade breakthrough with China MORE (R-Ark.) praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report 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 BoltonBolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Ex-top Trump Russia aide to testify about 'shadow policy' on Ukraine: report Bolton to write memoir on time serving under Trump: report 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 SandersSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill On The Money: Trump touts China trade deal | Wall Street, Washington see signs for caution | Trump threatens sanctions on Turkey | Sanders proposes sharp hike to corporate taxes MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic contender, tweeted about his opposition to armed conflicts.

—Tess Bonn