Fox analyst praises Trump for being “on a strategic offensive with the Iranians”

From the June 24 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

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SANDRA SMITH (CO-ANCHOR): Let's bring in General Jack Keane, retired U.S. Army four star general, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, and a Fox News senior strategic analyst. General Keane, good morning to you. So Iran at an inflection point, is the maximum pressure campaign working, general?

JACK KEANE (FOX NEWS SENIOR STRATEGIC ANALYST): Yeah. Very much so. President Trump is the first administration in 39 years to really be on a strategic offensive with the Iranians. And it's a comprehensive campaign. Actually, they changed their behavior in the region and also their behavior with their own people. And clearly, the maximum pressure campaign dealing with sanctions is really working. You know, the Iranians, they precipitated this crisis, this recent crisis in the gulf four or five weeks ago when they started to raise the level of tension, disrupting oil and the rest of it. Why were they doing that? They were doing that because they wanted the international community to put pressure on the Trump administration to ease up on the sanctions. Then a drone gets shot down, and the Iranians believe that what will take place is the United States will begin to walk up the ladder of escalation by responding to that with a kinetic attack in retaliation. But what happened? Well, the president exercises restraint, does not issue a kinetic attack, now has leverage with the allies to give him some assistance. And secondly, he's increased the sanctions. So this thing just literally has backfired in the Iranians' face.

SMITH: So on that point, it could be any moment, any hour now that we learn about more sanctions on Iran. Where more can we possibly hit them, General Keane? You look at what has happened to the Iranian economy since we pulled out of the nuclear deal. Sanctions on Iran's exports, as far as their exports, they have been cut in half. The IMF says Iran's economy has contracted almost 4% in 2018. This year it's on pace to contract 6%. Inflation's skyrocketing, their currency has lost more than half of its value. Where are the other places that we can hit them, general?

KEANE: Well certainly they really hit them pretty hard in the energy sector and industrial minerals and petrochemicals. And they're just going to go down the line of anything that's being exported out of Iran that generates revenue. Manufactured goods, et cetera. Any banks that are still doing business with them and going around the United States, going around the dollar. Financial markets, which is what we have shut down. So I mean, we are into the fine print now in doing this, but I totally agree with the pressure here on the Iranians to curb their behavior. And we'll see where this goes. I do think we'll see Secretary Pompeo in the next few days put together a coalition of partners to help protect the shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. And I believe he's got more leverage to do that now as a result of the president's restraint last week on not executing the kinetic strike. Also I think it's worth a try to get them to assist in participating in the sanctions as well. So we'll see. But I think there's potential here for some progress on the part of the Trump administration and our allies and partners.


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