Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said the United States and Iran are on a "collision course" and that this country should respond aggressively but stopped short of calling for military action against Iran
Instead, the California Democrat pushed for tougher economic sanctions instead.
Feinstein acknowledged on "Fox News Sunday" today that she initially was skeptical when she initially was briefed about the alleged plot but now believed "it's very real."
“To cross to the other side of the world and try and attack in this country is an escalation," Feinstein said. "And that’s what concerns us.”
The United States should be on alert for other attacks by Iran's elite Quds Force, a special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard that aims to export its Islamic revolution to other nations.
"I don't think this is just an isolated thing that suddenly came up," she said. "They have done these kinds of things before" in Argentina and Iraq. "This is certainly a continuum, but an extension."
The U.S. government has issued 19 executive orders and passed seven laws sanctioning Iran druing the past 30 years, but it has continued to pursue a nuclear program and sponsor terrorism, said Fox host Chris Wallace.
Feinstein said the sanctions have been incomplete, adding that she believes Iran's central bank slso should be sanctioned because it would effect oil and "make a big difference."
"Iran is increasingly hostile," she said. "My hope is that there can be some kind of discussion that can be convincing for the Iranians to change course. Absent that, at one time or another, if you project out a number of years, we're on a collision course."
U.S. authorities said on Tuesday they had broken up a plan by two men linked to Iran's security agencies to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington. One of the suspects was arrested last month and the other is at large.
President Barack Obama said on Thursday that Iran — already at odds with Western governments over its nuclear program — would face the toughest possible sanctions and the United States would not take any options off the table.
"Our country should not be looking to go to war," Feinstein said on "Fox News Sunday." "We should be looking to stop bad behavior, short of war."
Feinstein said the United States should push Russia and China to get behind sanctions, arguing that the two powers have scuttled past efforts to crack down on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.