Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert says the United States should be ready to take military action against Iran despite an interim atomic agreement.
“[Iran has] to open [nuclear facilities] up to the IAEA and to US inspectors and we’ve got to make sure you’ve gotten rid of everything. Otherwise, let’s blow them all up, all the sites up, until we’re satisfied we’ve eliminated them as a threat,” Gohmert said in an interview on Monday.
“I don’t think we would have to do it, but they sure need to know we would do it if we needed to,” he added.
The congressman also called on the Obama administration to increase military support to Israel in case Tel Aviv decides to launch a military strike against Iran.
“We need to get them the F-35s they need,” Gohmert said. “We ought to give them our best bunker-busters because I think [Israeli Prime Minister] Bibi [Benjamin] Netanyahu has the will and the credibility to be a threat.”
The threat is not the first one by American lawmakers. Last year, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Duncan Hunter issued similar warnings to Tehran.
During a speech at a Zionist Organization of America gala in November, Bachmann said Iran’s nuclear facilities “must be bombed.”
In December, Rep. Hunter urged the United States government to use “tactical nuclear weapons” to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities if military action becomes necessary.
The ongoing threats from hawkish US officials come although Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Britain, Russia, France and China — plus Germany struck the six-month accord in Geneva on November 24, 2013.
Last month, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced a sanctions bill against Iran.
About 48 senators have supported the bill, but the chairs of 10 Senate committees wrote to Senate Majority Harry Reid, criticizing the bill and asking him not to move forward with it.
The White House, however, has said President Barack Obama will veto the bill if it passes. It is still unclear whether backers can put together the two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate needed to override a veto by Obama.
On Tuesday, Iran said the nuclear deal will collapse in case of fresh US sanctions.
“Approval of any new sanctions will be tantamount to terminating the ongoing talks,” Iran Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.