This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 21, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: After the showdown, time to just shut the entire deal down?
To New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.
First off, Senator, before we get to the deal...
SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.: Yes.
CAVUTO: ... do you know whether we have the authority in presumably international waters to board a ship or a series of vessels we suspect might be bringing arms to a country?
AYOTTE: Well, I think the fact there's a U.N. resolution that prevents these arms to going to the Houthis in Yemen gives us authority to do that. But you would think that if Iran is -- had said that they don't have any military equipment on these vessels, then they wouldn't mind if we boarded, and they'd invite us on board to show us that there aren't in fact any arms.
But the fact is, is that we know Iran is arming the Houthis. We know that it undermining our interests. In fact, we had to leave Yemen. And then who is the big winner? Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is centered in Yemen, which is dangerous to us and of course the world.
And I think it highlights, Neil, the problem we have in these negotiations. All this has been off the table. Iran's activities, state sponsor of terrorism, has been off the table. Isn't that absurd? Here we are in this potential confrontation leading to Yemen, and yet it's not being discussed at all in the context of these negotiations. And we're not using our leverage in those negotiations to get them to stop this kind of behavior.
CAVUTO: Are you surprised that they're even doing this or behaving like this when the deal isn't a signed and done one, by any means, as you pointed out, Senator, that even if they were to pull these kinds of stunts, assuming they are sending military equipment here -- they have got a convoy of ships. They're not sending shredded wheat.
CAVUTO: This is unprecedented, this number of ships, I'm told.
Leaving that aside, isn't it just better if you're going to do this kind of thing to do it after you have signed a deal?
AYOTTE: Well, I think it shows you how emboldened Iran is.
And you hear the Iranian leaders talking, the supreme leader talking about the that they're expecting immediate sanctions release. I think it shows you that they think that they have our ticket in all this. And the president's response is, oh, we will just send Secretary Kerry in there to be more creative with our negotiations.
Well, I think it's time for us to really stand up for our interests. And that has to be, to really put it to the Iranians, you stop this right away or we aren't going to have an agreement. In fact, we will ratchet up sanctions again. And then with what's happening with the price of oil, we know that it's hurting their economy.
But the fact that this isn't even on the table is absurd, when you think about it.
CAVUTO: You know, Senator John McCain looked at this overall situation, and this obviously escalating international incident between our countries and said it was very obvious to many of us that this did not have to happen.
Quoting Senator McCain: "We did not take care of the regime that was in place, the president that was in there." Talking about Yemen. "It is a symptom of our failure throughout the Middle East."
What did you make of that?
AYOTTE: I have to agree that we have seen a consistent pattern with this administration where we don't get engaged in supporting our friends forcefully enough.
And so the problems that flow from there is that our friends aren't able to rely on us and that our enemies feel emboldened. And you see how emboldened Iran is right now. You also see how emboldened Russia -- Russia is with the sales they're now trying to make to Iran. They undermine our interests. And you think about that.
And the president is not coming down on Russia on that either.
CAVUTO: All right, you mentioned earlier that it was a suspicion as such that there are weapons or supplies for some of these rebels on these ships, that we -- and our suspicions are strong -- that we should board them.
Isn't that playing into maybe Iran's hands here, if they are, you mentioned Russia, trying to tempt us into doing just that to make this a bigger international incident?
AYOTTE: Well, I think that Iran is going to be the loser of all of this.
You had, obviously, Saudi Arabia and a number of other Gulf nations allied to try to assist the government in Yemen.
AYOTTE: And so we have a lot of friends on our side on this. And I think we could alienate them and show them for what they are, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world right now.
It's undermining what the U.N. has said about this situation. So, I actually think that we have more people on our side on this and that the world is against them on this issue.
CAVUTO: You know, when it came to the -- not everyone is singing from the same choir book on these type of issues, as you know, Senator, even within the Republican Party.
Senator Lindsey Graham, for example, has criticized Senator Rand Paul on how he flip-flops on these issues. Senator Paul then was asked about that criticism with my friend Bill Hemmer. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: But I'm the only one actually standing up and saying the war in Libya was a mistake. The bombing of Assad would make ISIS stronger. The arms to the Islamic rebels would make ISIS stronger.
So I'm really the one standing up to President Obama. And these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama. And I think they're sensitive about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: He was essentially saying Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham were lapdogs and are lapdogs to the president.
What did you think of that?
AYOTTE: Well, I think you could ask the current administration. They have been some of the strongest critics for the failed foreign policy of this administration.