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Rep. Waltz: Iran Continuing to Escalate Tensions to Divert Attention from Crashing Economy

Washington, DC, July 23, 2019

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) addressed Iranian claims of arresting 17 alleged Central Intelligence Agency spies and sentencing some to death with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner. The allegations, Waltz said, were yet another indication the U.S.’ maximum pressure campaign is working – and another example of Iran lashing out to distract from its crashing economy.

“This [allegation] is another play out of their age-old playbook of ramping up tensions when they’re desperate,” Waltz said. “And right now, because the maximum pressure campaign and the economic sanctions are working, you’re going to continue to see [Iran] lash out, whether it’s against oil tankers or accusing some of their citizens and scientists of being spies – because they need to divert their economic populace, which is rioting and hurting under these sanctions.”

Waltz clarified the alleged spies in question are Iranian nationals, not American citizens and indicated any action harm to American citizens would be a “red line” for the U.S.

“We need to make the distinction that these are Iranian nationals working on their nuclear program and their missile program that the Iranians are accusing of working with the United States…[but] if they are actually executing U.S. citizens, yes we are there [at the red line]…a lot of this lashing out you’re seeing is because the President showed restraint before. They’re like a bully – you have to punch them in the mouth or they’re going to keep trying to bully kids and take their lunch money.”

A video of Waltz’s full remarks is available here.

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