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Chris Christie: Trump understands that Iran only responds to force

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s actions in Iran, saying Trump  understands that Tehran's leadership only responds to force. 

Christie told ABC’s “This Week” that the U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week was “justified” after Iran “continued to provoke.”

“What the president understands is that the only thing Iran has ever responded to when they provoke, as they have throughout the world, is force in return,” he said. “And that's what the president is doing, and that’s what he’s doing to try to keep Americans safer than they would be otherwise.”

The former governor said that Iran’s continuing provocations, including an attack on two Saudi oil refineries in October, “did not make us any safer.” 

“So, at some point, you have to decide,” Christie said. “There's a risk in every foreign policy decision you make in the Middle East.”

“They take every sign of goodwill as weakness, and I think the president did what he needed to do,” he added. 

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Christie acknowledged that Trump’s move will “present challenges” in the Middle East but added that “every action has a ramification to it.”

Trump authorized the strike that killed Soleimani last week, leading Iran to threaten retaliation. The president responded on Twitter saying the U.S. is prepared to hit 52 sites in Iran.

Earlier in the week, protests erupted at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, after the U.S. launched strikes against an Iranian-backed militia in the country. The Defense Department has said those strikes were a response to an attack that killed a U.S. contractor that the department blames on the militia.