Republicans Call Alleged Iranian-Backed Plot An ‘Act Of War’

Reposted by arrangement with Think Progress

With news yesterday of a foiled bomb plot that allegedly ties the Iranian government to an attempt to assassinate foreign diplomats in the U.S., Republicans are now calling for escalated actions against the Iranian regime. Many have focused their talking points on describing the alleged Iranian-backed plot as a declaration of war on the U.S. Here’s a quick rundown:


Pete Hoekstra told the right-wing magazine Newsmax that the plot allegedly coordinated by Iran constituted “acts of war”:

The plot will “heighten the tensions throughout the Middle East… These are acts of war, and they need to be viewed and treated as such,” said Hoekstra, the former ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview.


House Homeland Security Committee Chairperson King told CNN that he considered the plot an “act of war” and said “the Iranians have crossed a red line”:

KING: This is such — again, this violates all international norms, violates international law. Basically, you’re talking about an act of war. I think we have to — the United States has to really consider taking very significant action. […]

[W]e should not be, I don’t think, automatically saying we’re not going to have a military action. I think everything should be kept on the table when you’re talking about a potential attack against the United States, an act of war.


Appearing on a Chicago talk radio show, Kirk boosted his recent legislative attempt to collapse the Iranian currency by going after the Iranian central bank. Though Kirk didn’t endorse “military action” by the U.S., he justified a new push to move his legislation forward by saying that the Iranian government has already declared war on the U.S.:

KIRK: I think the declaration of war has already happened by Iran on us. If their intelligence service, called the MOIS, is seeking to blow up American targets, we are already in a state of conflict with them, but for the good work of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department.

RADIO HOST: …You believe this to be true? This is an act of war?…

KIRK: …This is pretty in-your-face by the government of Iran, to be trying to put together bomb plots inside Washington, D.C. And it’ll be now time for the Obama administration to take action.

Watch King and listen to Kirk here:

The plot itself remains merely in indictment form, and, as many commentators have pointed out, we don’t know exactly what was going in this situation, and we do know that a bold move like this would be well out-of-character for Iran’s normally very professional intelligence agencies. Considering the high stakes of possible regional conflagration, perhaps it’s best to save all the “declaration of war” talk until the facts of the case and Iranian complicity are more clear.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.