This week, freshman Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) addressed claims from Iran that the country had dismantled a CIA spy ring, which resulted in the arrest of 17.
In addition, Iran has also made claims that some of those arrested have been sentenced to death.
In an interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner, Rep. Waltz clarified that the allegations are a clear example that the United States’ maximum pressure campaign is working, arguing that Iran is lashing out to distract from the fact that their economy is crashing.
Waltz elaborated that “this [allegation] is another play out of [Iran’s] age-old playbook of ramping up tensions when they’re desperate.”
He added that “because the maximum pressure campaign and the economic sanctions are working, you’re going to continue to see [Iran] lash out, whether it’s against oil tankers or accusing some of their citizens and scientists of being spies – because they need to divert their economic populace, which is rioting and hurtling under these sanctions.”
Moreover, Waltz clarified that the alleged spies that were arrested were Iranian nationals and not American citizens.
In fact, had there been any indication of harm to American citizens, then that would be considered a “red line” for the United States.
Waltz explained that “we need to make the distinction that these are Iranian nationals working on their nuclear program and their missile program that the Iranians are accusing of working with the United States.”
In addition, Waltz asserted that “if they are actually executing U.S. citizens, yes we are there [at the ride line].”
However, he ultimately concluded that “a lot of this lashing out you’re seeing is because the President showed restraint before. They’re like a bully – you have to punch them in the mouth or they’re going to keep trying to bully kids and take their lunch money.”