Sullivan Statement on Retaliatory Strikes Against Iranian Proxies in Iraq & Syria

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), released the following statement today in response to retaliatory strikes launched by U.S. forces against Iranian terrorist proxies in Syria and Iraq. Iran-backed terrorist proxies have launched over 160 attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East since last October, including killing three U.S. service members and wounding dozens more in a drone attack on January 28.

“The Biden administration’s response to these attacks—delayed for almost a week, and now signaling where our military will and will not strike—has been disastrous to the point of being dangerous,” said Sen. Sullivan. “What would be more effective is to send the message to Iran’s leadership that if the Houthis continue to use Iranian missiles and Iranian intelligence from Iranian spy ships to target U.S. Navy vessels in the Red Sea, we will sink those Iranian spy ships. That is how you begin to reestablish deterrence. The Biden administration needs a sustained, multi-faceted strategy that also focuses on non-military actions—in particular, reimposing the comprehensive sanctions against the Iranian oil and gas sector that proved to be so effective during the Trump administration.”


  • On November 2, 2023, Sen. Sullivan led 12 of his Senate Republican colleagues in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, demanding the Biden administration press for a broader, more permanent framework of sanctions on Iran from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). 
  • On November 14, 2023, Sens. Sullivan and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and a number of their Senate colleagues, introduced a resolution emphasizing the fact that deterrence is most credible when the President keeps all options on the table, including the use of military force, to deter attacks from Iran and its proxies.
  • On December 12, 2023, Sen. Sullivan and a number of his colleagues again sent a letter to Secretary Blinken, urging him to re-designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), as well as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
  • On January 12, 2024, Sen. Sullivan expressed his support for the strikes on the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which he said were “long overdue.”
  • On January 12, 2024, in an interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker, Sen. Sullivan reiterated his call on the Biden administration to reestablish deterrence with regard to Iran, and argued that tougher action against Iran and its proxies will help avoid a wider war, not appeasement.
  • On January 17, 2024, Sen. Sullivan said the decision to redesignate the Houthi rebels as an SDGT is a “step forward” that “doesn’t go far enough.”
  • On January 28, 2024, Sen. Sullivan called for a “clear, lethal and overwhelming response” to the strike carried out by Iran-backed terrorist proxies that killed 3 U.S. service members and wounded dozens of others.
  • On January 29, 2024, in an interview on Fox News Channel, Sen. Sullivan criticized the Biden administration for pursuing an appeasement strategy toward Iran, and called for a return to the aggressive deterrence policies enacted during the Trump administration.

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