The United States must respond to attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman with strength, as Iran will back down, Rep. Michael Waltz said Friday.

“What I think we look at is what President (Ronald) Reagan did in 1988, Operation Praying Mantis, where he sent ships in to escort the tankers,” the Florida Republican said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “One of those ships hit a mine. People think the tensions are high now? We ended up sinking several Iranian speedboats and a gunboat. Iran will back down. They will not respond strength to strength.”

On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran is responsible for the attacks on the Japanese-owned tankers. The U.S. military’s Central Command also released a video that says shows Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the two ships.

“You have to look at very quickly Iran is doing this,” said Waltz, a U.S. Army National Guard Special Forces officer. “They are doing this because the sanctions are working. Their economy is cratering. They have gone from 2.5 million barrels per day of oil down to almost 200,000.”

Even though the tankers that were attacked aren’t U.S.-owned, they still represent the country’s interests, because such vessels fuel the world’s economy, said Waltz.

“We cannot let Iran essentially shut off the world’s oil supply by endangering our allied economies,” he said. “All of this is interdependent. It’s incumbent upon the United States to stand up and defend these interests.”

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