U.S. Navy Would 'Push, Shove, Stomp and Destroy' Iran 'In a Heartbeat,' GOP Congressman Warns

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger warned on Thursday that the U.S. Navy could "push, shove, stomp and destroy" Iran "in a heartbeat" after attacks on allied oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which the U.S. has blamed on Tehran.

Kinzinger, who represents Illinois' 16th district, appeared Thursday on Fox News' America's Newsroom to comment on the situation between Iran and the U.S. The GOP lawmaker voiced support for President Donald Trump's hard-line policies toward the country, while also suggesting that Washington may have to consider military action.

"Not only do we have to continue the economic push against them, but we have to be willing, if necessary, to use the military," the congressman argued. "If push came to shove, I mean, the U.S. Navy would push, shove, stomp and destroy 'em in a heartbeat if we had to," he asserted.

Iranian military
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a military parade during a ceremony marking the country's annual Army Day in Tehran on April 18 AFP/STRINGER

Iranian officials have denied carrying out the Thursday attacks, which targeted oil tankers owned by Japan and Norway. Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that "the Iranian navy dispatched air-to-sea rescue and patrolling equipment to the accident site," citing the Iranian military. It said the cause of the incident was "under investigation."

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placed the blame squarely on Tehran.

"It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks," Pompeo said, without citing evidence to back up this accusation.

"Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted," the secretary of state continued. "No economic sanctions entitled the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail."

A separate series of attacks were carried out last month against oil tankers owned by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Norway in the region as well. The U.S. also accused Iran, or its proxies, of being behind those attacks, but Iranian officials said they were not. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, which see Tehran as a regional rival, have also blamed Iran.

Although tensions have been high between the U.S. and Iran for decades, they have increased since last May when Trump chose to withdraw Washington from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. The White House then moved to implement harsh financial sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation. Under the nuclear agreement, which was signed by the European Union, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and the administration of former President Barack Obama, Iran was promised sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear capabilities.

While the other nations involved in the agreement have continued to abide by its terms, Iranian leaders warned European signatories of the JCPOA last month that Tehran would begin stepping back from it commitments under the international treaty unless more was done to preserve the accord. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has deployed more military forces — including 1,500 additional troops — to the region to counter any threat from Iran. As a result, many have raised alarm bells about the possibility of war.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned on Monday that "whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it."

U.S. Navy Would 'Push, Shove, Stomp and Destroy' Iran 'In a Heartbeat,' GOP Congressman Warns | U.S.