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

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Schiff closes Dems' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  MORE (R-Ark.) praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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 BoltonRomney: 'It's very likely I'll be in favor of witnesses' in Trump impeachment trial George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump Democrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial 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 SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic contender, tweeted about his opposition to armed conflicts.

—Tess Bonn