Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed Iran’s warnings about closing the Strait of Hormuz as “idle threats,” during a small round table discussion with reporters today.
“This idle threat that they’re going to interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz is not enforceable. We have a carrier there, that will not happen,” McConnell told me. “So this is the time to squeeze the Iranians in every direction possible.”
He added that the Saudis would assist with any fallout in oil production.
“The Saudis have already indicated that whatever reduction in oil production might occur as a result of this, they’ll make up,” said McConnell.
The Senate Minority Leader’s comments put him at odds with many military experts who say the regime’s threats are a real risk. The U.S. Navy has reportedly been training for a potential clash with Iran over the strait.
McConnell also blasted Obama’s leadership on Iran, saying that the president only ordered the latest round of tough Iran bank sanctions because Senate Republicans forced him to do it. Obama was required to institute these sanctions under a bill championed by Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez.
“We forced it on him. He didn’t want the authority,” said McConnell.
He added that Obama now has “greater tools to use on the Iranians. I hope he uses them all.”