Republicans call for retaliation against Iran over drone, tanker attacks

Kevin McCarthy is among those calling for a "measured response" against Iran.
Kevin McCarthy is among those calling for a "measured response" against Iran. Photo credit: AAP

Several top US House Republicans, including leader Kevin McCarthy, want the US to take a "measured response" against Iran after Washington accused Tehran of shooting down a drone and attacking oil tankers.

"Iran directly attacked a United States asset over international waters. This provocation comes a week after they attacked and destroyed two commercial tankers in international waters," McCarthy and representatives Michael McCaul, Mac Thornberry and Devin Nunes said in a statement on Thursday (local time).

Meanwhile, former State Department adviser and Middle East negotiator Aaron Miller, and former State Department worker Richard Sokolsky, do not believe the US and Iran are headed toward a "major war".

Trump on Thursday said Iran made "a very big mistake" shooting down the US military drone that Tehran said was on a spy mission over its territory, in an incident that fanned fears of wider military conflict in the Middle East.

"Should war occur, President Trump will wish he had stayed out," they wrote in a piece for National Public Radio (NPR).

"Iran is too big and too strong to be toppled, and there is no strong, united opposition capable of fomenting the kind of unrest that could overthrow the regime in the wake of US military strikes."

They say conflict between the US and Iran would likely see rising gas prices.

"Periods of Middle East tensions historically make for instability in oil markets. The last thing Trump needs as the 2020 election approaches is rising gas prices."

Reuters / Newshub.