As the world waited to see how President Donald Trump would respond to the Iranian missile strikes on al-Asad airbase in Iraq, one of his favorite television hosts cheered on potential reprisals, including retaliation aimed at creating “major poverty” for Iranians.
“There is a massive price to pay. You don’t get to do what they did tonight. They’re going to get hit hard,” Fox News host Sean Hannity said Tuesday night. “The mullahs of Iran, well, they may want to watch and keep a watchful eye on the sky tonight.”
After suggesting during the opening of the show that Iranian oil refineries may be at risk, Hannity then directly suggested bombing those refineries in an interview with Sen. Ted Cruz, with the intention of creating “major poverty” in the country, then “maybe” providing arms to Iranians to foment regime change.
“They have three major refineries in Iran, senator. Three. I would imagine those refineries blew up one day, they got themselves a hell of a domestic problem, because that’s going to result in major poverty for the people of Iran. And if they want regime change, that’s up to them,” he said. “Maybe we could help them with arms and help them, you know — in some ways, but we are not sending our sons and daughters there.”
Cruz responded by pivoting to the Iran nuclear deal, saying, “under Barack Obama, the policy [regarding Iran] was appeasement.”
“We need to stand up to the Ayatollah,” Cruz added. I’ve reached out to Sen. Cruz’s office for comment.
Hannity, who Trump has called an “amazing warrior” for his support of the president and whose show the president watches regularly, was a prominent supporter of the Iraq War and has been one of the biggest boosters of military action with Iran. After the Iranian military shot down an unmanned American drone in June 2019, he said, “the mullahs must see the writing on the wall. ... If they do not end this hostility, if they do not stop, the mullahs of Iran will feel pain, I predict, like never before.”
And Hannity isn’t alone in suggesting that the American military target Iranian oil refineries to cripple Iran’s economy. Sen. Lindsey Graham, another prominent Iran hawk, told Fox News last Friday, “If I were the president, I would put on the table targets in Iran, not Iraq and Syria. Economic targets that would crush the economy.” Graham was also on Hannity on Tuesday night, where he addressed Iran’s government, saying, “If you are watching television in Iran, I just got off the phone to the president: Your fate is in your own hands in terms of the regime’s economic viability. You continue this crap, you’re going to wake up one day out of the oil business.”
In reaction to the latest developments, the Fox News masthead has been divided on the issue of potential war with Iran, with Hannity and Fox News contributor Pete Hesgeth cheering on military action but Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera opposing intervention.
But on Tuesday night, Hannity’s view was clear as he said, “We are just finding out how stupid the leaders of Iran actually are. ... They actually think they can attack America and get away with it. I think they need to think again.”