Speed Reads

The Iran crisis

Rand Paul says war with Iran would be a 'catastrophe' worse than what happened in Iraq

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) considers the killing of Iranian Gen. Maj. Qassem Soleimani "an act of war," and said he is "very worried" about heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Paul appeared on MSNBC's Hardball just minutes after Iranian state media announced the country's Revolutionary Guards launched missiles against Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. He called the attacks "predictable," adding, "I think this maximum pressure campaign, where we give no off-ramp and there's no ability or attempt to engage, I think it's been a failure. [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo has been saying we will force them into accepting our will, but we got out of the Iran agreement, which broke the trust that we had developed with them. Then we put an embargo on them and now we've killed one of their leading generals."

Last week, President Trump authorized an airstrike in Baghdad that targeted Soleimani, and Paul said he believes "killing a major general from another country is an act of war." He does not think Iran will "have a full-on war with us," but will continue missile and rocket attacks. "This is the opening salvo," Paul said. "I think it will go on for some time now. I think they will try to avoid a direct war because we can defeat any other nation and we would defeat them in a matter of weeks, but it would be another catastrophe and another mess 10 times of what happened during the Iraq War."

Paul said he is holding out for "saner minds" to "pull back and say enough's enough, let's try to have some means of conversation or some means of engagement." Catherine Garcia