Washington, D.C. – This morning, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the state of American foreign policy in the Middle East, in particular, the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Video and key excerpts included below:

On the growing threats posed by Iran:

“[W]e have concerns with Iran calling for the overthrow of the government in Saudi Arabia as well as attempts to overthrow the government in Bahrain and, frankly, the effective overthrow of the government in Yemen… The main problem in the region is Iranian power and growing influence and their chants of ‘Death to America, Death to Israel.’”

On President Obama’s failed approach in the Middle East:

“We see a lack of [American] leadership. And as a consequence, you see that people don’t listen to us in the region. They perceive we tilted towards Iran and this has created problems in terms of our credibility in the region…

“The chance to change the Middle East was in 2009 when the people in Iran went to the streets. And the administration made the decision at that point not to support the people in the streets in Iran. Instead they’ve gone forward to engage the Ayatollah. That was a blunder.”

On the need to push back against Iran’s dangerous acts:

“[W]hether it’s taking an additional U.S. hostage or whether it’s violating U.N. sanctions – shooting off ballistic missiles… Jordan and other U.S. allies in the region don’t see a reaction from this administration. As a matter of fact, the administration was about to take action and as soon as Iran pushed back in terms of enforcement on the sanctions, all of that evaporated. We need a policy of backbone, not backing down.”