- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he hopes the U.S. sends a wake-up call to Iran.

Tehran was emboldened when Mr. Trump called off retaliatory action in June at the last minute after Iran shot down a U.S. drone, the South Carolina Republican said.

“Iranians saw the president’s restraint as weakness and not as space for diplomacy. So clearly they got the wrong message that inaction on the drone event, I think, has reinforced the narrative that the administration, the Western world [and] the region really isn’t going to do much about provocations,” he said.

“I think the appropriate response would be to knock one of the refineries in Iran out of business,” Mr. Graham told reporters. He has spoken to the president and expects more information at an “appropriate time.”

President Trump pushed back at Mr. Graham’s suggestion that Iran interpreted his decision to call off a strike as “weakness.”

“No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!” he tweeted.

The Trump administration dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia and hinted at a crackdown on Iran for its suspected role in drone attacks that decimated oil fields east of Riyadh over the weekend, saying it has no intention of backing off its maximum pressure campaign and may go beyond economic sanctions to “restore deterrence” in dealing with Tehran.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed credit for the attacks, but the question of how they have changed the region’s political and military calculus continued to confront the U.S. and its allies.

• S.A. Miller contributed to the story which based in part on wires reports

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