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Tuberville on calls to attack Iran; ‘we don’t need another war right now’

In response to a small but vocal minority within the U.S. Senate calling for retaliatory strikes on Iran and its forces, Sen. Tommy Tuberville cautioned against such attacks during a press call on Wednesday, telling Alabama Daily News that direct strikes should be considered only as a last resort.

While in the minority, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has openly called on the United States to strike Iran in retaliation for dozens of recent attacks on U.S. troops from Iranian-backed militant groups such as Hezbollah and the Houthies.

The United States sent warships to the eastern Mediterranean just hours after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

In a recent interview with Fox News, Graham didn’t mince words when expressing his desire to strike Iran directly, and said in regards to the Iranian Armed Forces headquarters in Tehran, that the U.S. Military should “wipe it off the map.”

“Without Iran, there will be no Houthis, the Houthis are fully supported by Iran,” Graham said. “I’ve been calling for six months now: strike Iran.”

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has also advocated for a more aggressive response to Iran, calling for retaliatory strikes on the Iranian-backed militant groups were the attacks on shipping vessels to not immediately stop, strikes that he argued would “send a clear message to Iran.”

“It seems like the president wants to go out of his way to avoid Iranian casualties,” Cotton told Fox News in an interview. “I would target Iranians who are operating in Iraq and in Syria.”

Regarding Graham’s comments, Tuberville told ADN that he had “a different view than a lot of us have,” and that while direct strikes shouldn’t be taken “off the table” entirely, it was imperative that the United States be “very careful” and explore other means of deterrence first.

“So Lindsey wants to go to the head of the state basically and destroy it; there are a lot of other things that we can do before then,” he said. 

“If we were to go to Iran and start bombing their oil fields and things like that, our men and women would end up in a conflict; we don’t need another war right now. It might end up that we have to do that, but we need to go through all of the other alternatives first.”

Instead, Tuberville argued that reinstating harsher sanctions on Iran would be a better – and safer – response than a direct attack.

On Thursday, the United States did launch a direct attack, but on what U.S. officials said were sites in Yemen used by the Houthis. In a statement, President Joe Biden said that the strikes – which were carried out in conjunction with the British Armed Forces – were a direct response to the Houthi attacks against shipping vessels in the Red Sea, and were meant to demonstrate that the United States “will not tolerate” continued attacks on shipping vessels.

As of Dec. 26, nearly 70 U.S. service members have been injured from Iranian-backed militant group attacks. The attacks have also forced more than 2,000 commercial ships to divert thousands of miles south around the Horn of Africa to avoid the Red Sea.

Generally, the groups cite the reason for the attacks as being the United States’ support and funding for Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, which as of Tuesday, has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, nearly 10,000 of them children. Israel launched its attack immediately after the Oct. 7 surprise attack from Hamas that left approximately 1,200 Israelis dead.

 

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