Sen. Cotton: ‘If Iran wants to start a fight, the U.S. will end it’

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — After President Donald Trump spoke to the nation following Iran’s ballistic strike on two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops, Senator Tom Cotton said that “if Iran wants to start a fight, the United States will end it.”

Cotton claimed that “Iran’s weak attacks” on the two bases “signal that the fight ended when we killed Qassem Soleimani.”

Soleimani was killed last Friday after a U.S. airstrike killed him at Baghdad’s international airport.

“A leopard can’t change its spots, and Tehran won’t change course overnight,” Cotton said. “They’ll continue using proxies to fight their battles. But they can’t hide– we know who their proxies are, and the United States will remain vigilant in the defense of our citizens and allies in the region.”

RELATED: Sen. Cotton on Soleimani’s death: ‘He got what he richly deserved’

During his speech Wednesday, Trump said no Americans were harmed during the strike and that Iran appears to be “standing down.”

Trump said new sanctions will be implemented on Iran until the country abandons “nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism.”

Dan Whitfield, an independent challenger to Cotton in the 2020 elections, said on Twitter that Cotton “is mistaken on who wants to start a fight.”

Senator John Boozman said Trump’s remarks “send a clear message that its continued hostile actions will no longer be tolerated.”

“With the support of our allies, we must reject Iran’s aggressive conduct and continue to oppose its grip on the Middle East,” Boozman said. “By imposing additional economic sanctions, the president has again demonstrated our commitment to firmly countering the regime’s destructive, destabilizing behavior while encouraging peace.”

U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman also praised Trump, saying he “drew a red line and made it clear that if the Iranian regime harmed American citizens, the United States would act.”

RELATED: READ: President Trump’s full remarks on Iran attack

Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said the country “took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.” 

Zarif also said that Iran doesn’t “seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”