House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said Sunday he expects Iran to retaliate against the U.S., possibly through cyberspace, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and apply sanctions against the Middle Eastern country.
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“We saw this after the sanctions in 2011 – major cyberattacks on the financial sector,” McCaul, R-Texas, told Maria Bartiromo during an interview on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The agreement -- officially known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” -- crafted by the United States in 2015 under President Barack Obama and agreed to by Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany reopened trade with Iran under terms requiring the country to reduce its uranium stockpile.
McCaul criticized the deal, saying it was flawed from the beginning, particularly because it did not address inspections at military sites, ballistic missile capability and “sunset provisions” – something that would allow Iran to resume nuclear work after a period of several years.
“This deal, by pulling out, puts maximum pressure on Iran, but also Europe, within the 90- to 180-day time frame window to cut that deal so we have a better deal to ensure that we never have a nuclear Iran, ever. The whole point of these sanctions by Congress was to get to the point where we would ensure they would never have nuclear weapons capability.”
McCaul also praised Trump for his “bold” foreign policy move and efforts in negotiating with France, Germany and Britain regarding the Iran situation.
“I think that is the fundamental choice [for European countries]: Do I do business with the United States or Iran? They’re going to pick the United States. That’s why we have the ultimate leverage on Iran,” McCaul said.
Trump on Sunday tweeted that Iran’s military budget increased more than 40% since the nuclear deal was negotiated in 2015. Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, however, shows the country’s military expenditure increased closer to 30% from 2015 to last year.
Iran’s Military Budget is up more than 40% since the Obama administration-negotiated nuclear deal was reached . . . just another indicator that it was all a big lie. But not anymore!” he said in a tweet.