Fox News Anchor Presses Defense Secretary on Iran: ‘Regime is Not Really Listening’


Fox News anchor Leland Vittert pressed Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Iran this morning, arguing that President Donald Trump administration’s pressure campaign isn’t getting them to back down.

Vittert, filling in for Bill Hemmer on America’s Newsroom, and co-anchor Sandra Smith spoke with Esper Thursday about Iran’s “bad behavior.”

“Our aim is to deter further Iranian bad behavior that has been going on now for over 40 years. It’s time that Iran started acting like a normal country,” Esper said.

Vittert likened Iran to schoolyard bullies, and appeared to suggest potential military escalation.

“Sometimes bullies don’t understand sanctions, tough talk, deployment, air strikes against proxies. Bullies understand a punch in the nose,” Vittert said.

“I’m not going to speculate with regard to next steps. I would just reiterate that we retain the right of self-defense, of our forces, our interests, our partners in the region,” Esper responded. “We need to stand up to Iran and we need them to behave like a normal country. That means ending their nuclear program, ending their long-range ballistic missile program, the stopping of hostage-taking, and of course there maligned behavior where they are inspiring terrorist groups.”

“I get the demand, sir, but it appears the Iranian regime is not really listening,” Vittert said. “Hostage taking, they still have Robert Levinson. As you noted, they attacked the Saudi oil facilities and there was not a military response. They shot down the U.S. drone, and there was not a military response. So far there’s only been a military response against their militias in Iraq. Is the idea here that only the loss of U.S. life will result in a U.S. military response?”

“What needs to happen is the international community needs to come together once and for all and condemn Iran’s bad behavior. To help us with a maximum pressure campaign,” Esper said. “It will take the international community to do that. That’s what we call on them all to do.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

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