The Democratic senator from West Virginia told Breitbart News he had a great meeting with President Donald J. Trump’s National Security Adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at the Capitol about the president’s tougher posture with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“I am pleased that this administration with President Trump is letting them know we are not going to stand still and play their game,” said Sen. Joseph Manchin III (D.-W.V.), who is one of 23 Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018.
The senator met with Flynn in side room just off the Senate floor at the Capitol, while the chamber was voting to end debate on three of Trump’s cabinet nominees and to revoke two regulations already singled out and approved for revocation by the House. Flynn held a series of meetings with lawmakers throughout the day, passing through the hallways with his phalanx of aides and security detail.
Manchin said Flynn was an old friend from his days on the Armed Services Committee and that in addition to the national security advisers face-to-face visits, the White House is preparing a more comprehensive briefing on how it plans to pivot away from President Barack Obama’s more accommodating approach.
“I just felt we needed to be tougher and stronger,” he said. “Especially with the Iran deal–I felt very strongly about that.”
Manchin was one of four Democrats who voted against Obama’s agreement with Iran that unwound American sanctions against Iran and thawed funds frozen by the U.S. government going back to the 1979 taking of 52 hostages from the American embassy in Tehran.
The former West Virginia governor said he did not know how to explain to the voters in his state that the United States was helping Iran, while it continued to facilitate terrorism against the United States and her allies, such as Israel.
“They are supporting terrorists, harboring terrorists, managing terrorists–Hamas and all the other terrorists organizations around the world–Why don’t we make them show good behavior?” he asked. “Why give them the free carte blanc?
Monday Flynn spoke at the White House about Iran’s provocations, which were not consistent with the spirit of Obama’s lifting of sanctions and agreements the Islamic Republic made to dial back its nuclear weapons program, including a ballistic missile launch and an attack on a Saudi warship by Houthi irregular combatants, who are supported and directed by Iran.
The missile launch violated a United Nations resolution restricting Iran’s development of nuclear weapon-capable missiles, he said.
“The Obama Administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions—including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms,” the retired general said.
“The Trump Administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk,” he said. “President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama Administration, as well as the United Nations – as being weak and ineffective.”
Flynn said Iran could have shown that it appreciated Obama’s generosity.
“Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened,” he said. “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
The senator told Breitbart News that he understood Iran’s claims that their missile in the recent test was not covered by their agreement with Obama, but he believes they did violate the UN’s resolution.
Beyond what may or may not be a violation, the senator said he was frustrated by Iran’s behavior and how, before Trump, they were not held accountable for their actions.
“They just keep pushing the button.”