Ron DeSantis called for the destruction of Iran’s economy after two Iranian-controlled sites in eastern Syria were hit by U.S. airstrikes in the early hours of Friday in retaliation for a flurry of attacks against U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq . ‘You tighten all the financial screws on Iran . You know, our goal should be the destruction of the Iranian economy,’ the Florida governor and Republican presidential contender told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C.
‘If you do that, they are not going to be able to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and are not going to be able to help Russia ,’ he argued. DeSantis was giving what his campaign billed as a major foreign policy address. In his remarks, he railed against President Joe Biden, claiming ‘the Biden foreign policy is rudderless weak, misguided and solicitous of America’s adversaries.’
The Florida governor blasted the president for not doing enough to counter China ‘s influence in the Indo-specific and accused Biden of enriching and empowering Iran ‘with sanctions relief that has fueled the Hamas attacks that has fueled what Russia is doing in Europe.’ ‘Biden has enriched them intentionally. And it’s had disastrous consequences,’ he said of Iran.
Some conservatives accuse the Biden administration of enriching Iran by waving a sanction on $10 billion frozen in Iraq and allowing the money to be deposited in Iranian bank accounts in Oman. The Biden administration argues it has taken economic actions to stop Iran’s influence and outreach. ‘We have never been blind to Iran’s destabilizing behaviors and the threats they pose in the region since coming into office,’ said White House spokesman John Kirby earlier this week.
‘That’s why we have added additional sanctions regimes – 40 of them since we came into office, 30 in just the last year alone. That’s why we bolstered our military presence in the region.’ He added that ‘we are not blind to the fact that they continue to support groups like Hamas and Hizballah and these militia groups in Iraq and in Syria that have been recent, over the course of the last weekend, attacking some of our facilities and our troops as well as our diplomats.’
In the early morning hours of Friday, the Pentagon sent two F-16 fighter jets to attack a weapons storage facility and an ammunition plant near Abu Kamal. Both sites were run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon said the strikes were not connected to the Israel-Hamas war, but designed to send a warning to Iran not to take advantage of the regional turmoil. ‘These strikes were very much done in self-defense. As you know, our forces and facilities had come under a range of attacks, rocket attacks, largely by these proxy groups, but they’re backed by Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria,’ Kirby told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday morning.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said at the United Nations on Thursday that if Israel’s offensive against Hamas does not end, the United States will ‘not be spared from this fire’. There was no report of any casualties in the 4:30 a.m. strike, and a U.S. official told Voice of America’s Jeff Seldin that the locations were chosen because there were no civilians present. It is the first time since March that the Biden administration has authorized strikes against Iranian-linked targets in Syria and Iraq, and comes after a series of assaults beginning on October 17.
The attacks against multiple U.S.-controlled sites in the region resulted in minor injuries to 21 U.S. service members, and the death of an American contractor, who died from a heart attack during one attack. The United States has 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 more in neighboring Syria. The U.S. personnel are there to advise and assist local forces in combating Islamic State, which in 2014 seized swathes of territory in both countries.
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