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GOP senator: Iran naval moves meant to ‘antagonize’ US

GOP senator: Iran naval moves meant to ‘antagonize’ US

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) on Tuesday said Iran is trying to “antagonize” the United States and the rest of the world with aggressive naval moves.

“We're dealing with the most dangerous and antagonistic government on the face of the planet,” Risch said during an interview with Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto.” 

Iranian navy ships on Tuesday advanced on a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel, the Maersk Tigris, in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranians fired shots across the ship’s bridge and boarded it when it refused to pull farther into Iranian waters.

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The U.S. Navy responded by sending a destroyer to assist the cargo ship, as well as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Just over a week ago, Iran deployed a nine-ship convoy to the Gulf of Aden in a possible attempt to resupply the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen. A U.S. aircraft carrier and a destroyer headed to the same waters until the Iranians turned back.

“They do this and antagonize us. They antagonize the world,” Risch, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Cavuto.

The latest confrontation comes as the Senate debates legislation that would allow Congress to weigh in on the final nuclear agreement with Tehran. Negotiators have until June 30 to reach an accord 

Risch said the administration “gave away the farm before they ever sat down at the negotiating table.”

He also blasted a suggested ten-year timeframe for the deal.

“They're talking about a 10-year deal. But this is a culture that is 5,000 years old. They're Persians. They're the remnants of the Persian Empire from 5,000 years ago; 2,500 years ago, they ruled the world. And 10 years, 15 years means absolutely nothing to them,” he said.

He said that “at the end of the deal” Tehran would be able to “construct a nuclear weapon and, in the meantime, be able to do the research they need and construct a delivery system. It's nonsense.”