BOISE — U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defended on cable news on Jan. 3 the killing of a key Iranian commander in a drone strike.
Risch, R-Idaho, spoke to CNN host Jake Tapper and defended the targeting of Iranian Maj. General Qassim Soleimani.
“This man was involved in actually participating in the orchestration of attacks against Americans. … He had been actively engaged in the American that was killed in most recent days and the four Americans who were injured,” Risch said on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“He has done awful things over the years, not the least of which was running the IED program that killed and maimed so many of our young men and women who were in service there,” the senator said.
Risch bristled at calling the killing of Soleimani an assassination.
“This guy was on the battlefield, he was a general and he was taken out by military action that was absolutely lawful. … This was not an assassination. This was an act of military conduct, fully justified, and that’s what happened,” Risch said.
Fears of a larger scale conflict have sprung up after Soleimani’s death, but Risch said the United States has no interest in going to war with Iran.
“We’re not interested in getting into a war,” Risch told Tapper, but said if Iran retaliated it would be dangerous.
“They will be making a horrendous mistake if they up the ante here,” he said.