(CNN)— Senator John McCain warned Tuesday Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East is hindering progress in Iraq.
Closing a week-long congressional delegation to the region that included a time in Iraq, McCain expressed concern over a large cache of explosives found in Iraq and alluded that they may have been sent from Iran.
During a press conference in Amman, Jordan, the Arizona senator also said there is a continued concern that Iran may be training Iraqi extremists in Iran and then sending them back into Iraq.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also said he was concerned about Iran developing nuclear weapons and said he planned to work closely with European allies to set in place a strict set of sanctions “that would be harmful and compelling" to Iran's trade, diplomatic, and financial institutions if he was elected president.
"There'd be a broad range of sanctions and punishments to the Iranians to help try to convince them that their activities – particularly development of nuclear weapons – is not a beneficial goal to seek," he said.
McCain said he was encouraged by the progress he saw in Iraq as well as his meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan.
"We realize that there are enormous challenges in the form of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and also continued efforts to win the struggle in Iraq, which we are succeeding but we still have a long way to go," he said.
Despite having a fundraiser planned in London this Thursday, McCain stressed the trip, his eighth to Iraq was not political. McCain is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was joined on his trip by two fellow committee members, Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
–CNN's Emily Sherman
More talk from OBama but no truth to it. It would take a pretty big dummy to beleiev him.
I don't know which is worse Obama or McCain. Guess there goes m vote. Four more years of HELL.
Rather than giving McCain yet another photo-op why aren't you reporting the most significant aspect of his sppearance for our American electorate. Until Joe Liberman came up behind him and whispered in his ear, the Presumptive Grandstander was repeatedly saying COMPLETELY ERRONEOUS things about "Al Qaeda" .....
THIS is the story! A presidential candidate vaunting his foreign relations "expereince" doesn't even know the facts of what's going on!!!!!!!
mccain is just another nitwit talking stuff he doesnt understand. a clown at his age, should go and farm in Arizona. he cant (nor George w) grasp that oil prices are where they are because of Iraq war. The economy is at its knees because of the loads of money needed to fuel it (16 billion a month!). This guy is ridiculous and so are all his supporters. Obama is coming to get you all!
Sorry Grandpa, ain't buying these scare tactics. We've been through enough with the idiot in the White House now. Can't go through another four years of the same. We'll all be broke except you and your cronies. We need to get the hell out of that area, get off the dependence of their oil and start focusing on what's going on here at home. Wake-up.
NO MORE WAR! America FIRST!
Obama 08! incredible speech today!
Woa! Hold the phone, McCain didn't say anything about war.
He didn't even talk about "all options" being on the table. He's stating that he will kick the crap out of Iran through sanctions to get what we want, not go to war with them.
Iran is a serious threat to us and our allies. Anyone who thinks that the Middle East isn't a terrifying place for Americans certainly has not been there and spoken to the people.
Where is this kneejerk reaction to John McCain coming from? He's a wise, honorable, and moderate war hero. Sure, he supported the war; almost everyone did, including Hillary Clinton. But he wouldn't have gotten us into this mess, and he's the best man for the job of getting us out.
How short sighted can people be. Iran has been a problem since Jimmy Carter blew it. We are in Iraq for an airbase. I want an air base!!
Quit sniveling code pinkers.
"Iran may be training Iraqi extremists in Iran and then sending them back into Iraq." Is NOT what he said. He said "al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate."
Lieberman corrected him.
Nice job, CNN.
March 18th, 2008 1:32 pm ET
IRAN WAS NOT THERE BEFORE MCCAIN AND HILLARY VOTED FOR IRAQ WAR. WHY DOES HE THINK WE ARE THAT STUPID.
Saying Iran was not there before the war is like saying Al Qaeda and the Taliban weren't in Afghanistan before the war there...I'm not an American...but if I was I would definately vote for McCain. I like Obama...don't like Clinton...although I must admit I do like former president Clinton...but McCain as president seems like the only rational choice for the age we live in. I don't want a third world war...but...yes but...it took a couple world wars to see Europe get to where it is today...maybe the middle east would turn out to be just as united and prosperous if it things went in that direction. That being said...hopefully the middle east can achieve what Europe has without a world war. Either way...McCain is the man. Just my lonely opinion.
Iran is stronger as the result of the Iraq war, and now seeing what was done to Iraq has a legitimate reason to seek nuclear weapons. They may have been swayed before Iraq was invaded but look at their options. Risk a future invasion by McCain or build a nuclear deterent. You'd have to be stupid not to see that. Iran will certainly build nuclear weapons if McCain gets in then we're all screwed.
Has anyone actually read the article? McCain said he'd work for sanctions on Iran, not go to war. Big difference. I'm sure John McCain is not looking forward to mare war, and wants it to end asap. However, he's not stupid enough to just leave and let radical groups come in a take over. It happened in the past, he does not want it to happen again.
He cares about the American people, but most Americans are too ignorant to understand.
It's all well and good for people to oppose war, but honestly, the American people know very little about what is actually going on. There are terrible things that the general public cannot even begin to wrap their feeble little minds around. So shut up and quit whining. We're in there whether you like it or not, and it's stupid to not finish.
I cannot even entertain the thought of voting for Obama. His "words" are meaningless. He has a practically non-existant congressional voting record, and when he does vote, it's consistantly to the left. He will never unite the parties, and he has NO experience. Sure, he talks the talk, but can he deliver on all those empty promises? I cannot vote for someone who thinks that words and rainbows and "hope" are gonna fix the US.
This does not mean I favor Hillary, at all, but at least she has a little experience.
John McCain will cross party lines, and help America. He's the only hope to get rid of this partisan mentality, which will become the downfall of the US.
George Washington was right, political parties suck.
I can't get enough of this guy. I am looking forward to having him as president. If anyone can defeat the terrorists and help this economy it's gotta be McCain. He's a straight talking maverick, who has never been involved in any scandal.
Iran, is been sporting terrorism for 29 years.
But now with the potential of becoming a nuclear power, they are much more dangerous.
Why democrats are so afraid of confronting Iran.
Thanks for erasing the first one CNN.
For all of you who think we lured Iran into Iraq, think again. They have been there for 2000 years. They fought an 8 year war with each other in the 1980,s. Oh, I forgot, the pre-pubescent Obama supporters would not have been alive then.
A vote for McCain is a vote for not a 3 trillion price tag for the Iraq War, but a 6 trillion price tag. Our economy just can't kept absorbing this kind of spree. That's why McCain can't follow in Bush's footsteps. Only a Democratic will get us out of the war.
I can not believe the idiots who say Obama is a liar , he is the most honest nominee out there. These people never supported Obama in the first place. McBush is making plans to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. This will only create more problems and run american deeper into a ditch.
Using fear is his only hope, dare I use the terms "fear" and "hope" in the same sentence. Mccain is clinging to those who wish to perpetuate tyranny and warfare, while Obama wishes to UNITE THE WORLD.
Any reason why CNN forgot to mention that McCain committed a major gaffe today?
If you don't know the difference between the rival factions in Iraq, you shouldn't be Commander in Chief. John McCain doesn't know the difference.
Yeah!!! MORE WAR!! LET'S GET EVEN MORE ENTRENCHED IN THE BEAUTIFUL MIDDLE EAST!!!
This dude is a moron. He will be crushed come decision day. Biden backer says go OBAMA 08!!!!
Can you please talk to Mrs. Powell about inviting General Colin Powell as your V.P.?
Um McCain is the same one that was singing BOMB BOMB BOMB, BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN. Of course he was just playing! McCain is know for having a short temper and he is going to have his hand on the button if he is elected President! He's going to War within the first year of office so he can further the George & Dick plolicies and finish stripping the Constitution to threads! What makes McCain a hero anyway, is it because he was a POW? He shouldn't have gotten himself caught in the first place, meaning he shouldn't of been over there anyway!
Obama is the best person to be President. He will lead America to a better tomorrow. McCain is a lobbist lover,cheater, flipflopper, and a warmonger.
I;M A DEMOCRAT,UNTIL NOW,IF HILLARY DOES NOT WIN NOMINATION,I WILL VOTE REPUBLICAN,PERIOD.........
More of the same. Who wants 4 years of this? Not America. McBush- McCain go back to that retirement home before you need to change your new pair of Depend underpants.