Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Iran a grave threat on Friday, saying the administration’s energy dominance plan will help address the Mideast power’s development of nuclear missiles economically by cutting the country’s oil profits.
“I’m concerned about Iran. I’m concerned about their development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear capability,” Zinke said at the Heritage Foundation.
“And Iran is a grave threat. And it is better to have options to address Iran economically and not just militarily,” he said.
Zinke said U.S. “economic leverage” would work to “supplant every drop of crude that Iran produces … and energy dominance is part of that.”
The U.S. has become one of the largest producers of natural gas and crude oil in the world, which has made the country less dependent on oil from the Middle East. That leverage gives the U.S. the ability to begin exporting more oil to reduce the amount on the market from countries such as Iran. At the same time, President Trump is considering whether to pull out of an Obama administration deal with Iran that lifted sanctions on its oil exports as a concession for its promise to curtail its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Zinke is a former Navy SEAL commander and said he wants to use the nation’s oil wealth to keep America’s sons and daughters from going to war.
Zinke used the speech to lay out Trump’s vision on energy, saying the nation stands at an energy “crossroads,” where there are “two visions for our future in energy,” he said.
“One side believes we should retreat into a fortress of regulation and red tape, where foreign nations take the lead as America drowns itself in process and procedure. This is not the vision of President Trump,” Zinke remarked.
Zinke added that the nation’s participation in the global energy market will work to protect “America’s sovereignty and not surrender it.”