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When Russia will retaliate: A key Trump campaign surrogate says he’ll ‘stay in’ if the US strikes Iran

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The Trump campaign’s key surrogate for US-Russia relations on Wednesday predicted that if the United States struck Iran, Russia would retaliate, despite a recent statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that said he was “not confident” that Russia would do so.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Republican pollster Peter Smithson, who served as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, said he thought Russia would react to the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration and called the sanctions “pretty devastating.”

He also said that if Trump “went down to Moscow and asked them to take the sanctions, he would say, ‘We’re not going to do it,'” Smithson said.

“Russia would be able to say, well, well you know what, they’re not taking those sanctions seriously, and they’re going to retaliate,” he added.

Smithson added that Russia “would not go away” and that the US was “getting very close to war” in the region.

Smithsons comments come amid an escalating dispute between the Trump and Putin administrations over Syria.

The US has been seeking to strike Assad, who Russia says is responsible for the chemical attack that killed hundreds of civilians last week.

The Trump administration has argued that Russia has been helping Assad fight against the rebels in Syria, but Russia and Iran have denied that and say the US is supporting him.

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