Politics & Policy

Rand Paul: ‘You’d Have to Be Brain-Dead’ to Believe Killing Soleimani will Bring Iran to Negotiating Table

Senator Rand Paul speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., December 4, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senator Rand Paul (R., Kentucky) on Monday continued to criticize the Trump administration’s decision to kill Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.

Soleimani was the leader of Iranian war efforts in Syria to support president Bashar al-Assad, and oversaw a network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq. The Pentagon considers Soleimani responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq following the 2003 invasion.

“The death of Soleimani, I think, is the death of diplomacy with Iran. I don’t see an off-ramp. I don’t see a way out of this,” Paul told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

Paul said President Trump had ordered the strike after receiving “bad advice,” and asserted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s policies regarding Iran would lead to attacks on Americans.

“When Secretary of State Pompeo’s out there saying ‘maximum pressure’ [and] ‘our goal is to get them back to the negotiating table,’ no naive child would believe that,” Paul said. “You’d have to be brain-dead to believe that we tear up the agreement, we put an embargo on you and we kill your major general, and they’re just going to crawl back to the table and say, ‘What do you want, America?'”

Paul previously suggested on Friday that the strike on Soleimani would lead to the further destabilization of the Middle East.

“Soleimani, like [Saddam] Hussein, was an evil man who ordered the killing of Americans,” Paul wrote on Twitter. “Yet, the question remains, whether his death will lead to more instability in the Middle East or less.”

In an interview on CNN Friday Pompeo said that killing Soleimani “saved American lives, no doubt about it.” President Trump said the action was taken in order “to stop a war,” not to instigate regime change.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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