November 10th, 2013
10:22 AM ET
5 months ago

Graham: New sanctions on Iran needed

Washington (CNN) - After three days of talks focused on halting Iran's uranium enrichment efforts broke down Sunday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress would not wait for the next round of negotiations.

Graham said he intends to put forward a measure that would mandate more sanctions on Iran, aimed at forcing the Middle Eastern nation to dismantle its nuclear weapons program - a move that runs counter to the interim steps sought by the negotiating parties gathered in Geneva, Switzerland.


"We're worried about the endgame, not some interim deal," Graham told CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, on "State of the Union," repeatedly asserting that "you can't trust the Iranians" and questioning whether they actually intend to abandon their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Graham said Iran's President Hassan Rouhani would have to comply with four separate preconditions in order to avoid a new round of crippling sanctions: Stop enriching uranium and other nuclear materials; dismantle centrifuges used in nuclear production; halt the country's plutonium-producing reactor; and place its fuel cycle under international control.

Asked by Crowley if such a move would make the Iranians balk and walk away from the negotiating table, Graham offered rare praise for the Obama administration's effort to create "really good" international sanctions. And he doubled down on his stance that even more economic pressure would precipitate a permanent solution.

"We believe that sanctions and the threat of military force (are) the only things that are going to bring the Iranians to the table," Graham said. "If you back off now, you're sending the worst possible message."

Graham, who is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made clear that Iran's past willingness to flaunt international regulations and attempts to dupe negotiating partners should make the rest of the world skeptical of any offers from Tehran.
"You have a regime that is lying about what they're trying to do. They're trying to build a nuclear weapon. For 30 years they've been terrorizing the region and the world," Graham said.

Despite his faint praise for the White House's attempts to make inroads with the seemingly more moderate Rouhani, Graham echoed concerns similar to those expressed by Israeli Primi Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not party to the Geneva talks. Netanyahu had publicly warned that an agreement would be "the deal of a century for Iran" and a "bad deal for peace."

Graham faulted Secretary of State John Kerry and his team for taking the Iranians too much at their word, saying he's "never been more worried" about the Obama administration's approach to the Middle East.

"How does thie movie with Iran end? If it ends with the four things I said, I would be satisfied. If it ends with anything less, then the world will regret this," Graham said.

Graham also thanked the country that he said sounded the alarm and spurred the pushback that helped conclude the summit without a deal in hand.

"Thank God for France," Graham quipped.

Graham's aggressive posture could complicate the situation on the ground in Geneva for Kerry and his negotiating team. With a new round of talks set for November 20 - with representation from the political, not the ministerial level - strong skepticism at home could add hurdles to hammering out a deal. With the Iranians already expecting to be assailed by hardliners in Tehran for not returning from Geneva with an agreement, a tougher posture by Congress on the conditions required for an agreement could undo what progress was made last week.


Filed under: Iran • Lindsey Graham • State of the Union
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. JohnWV

    Of today's Americans, 2% are Jews. Of today's American millionaires, 50% are Jews. As in Weimar Germany, they are organized and cunningly extract enormous amounts of money from our economy without contributing value. Wall Street has become a Jewish run casino serving itself and Jewry. Our news media is mostly Jewish owned and blatantly Israel/Jew biased. Our electoral process has been corrupted by AIPAC, the Jewish Conference of Presidents and more enormous amounts of Jewish money. Israel has occupied not just Palestine, but America too. The Wall Street felons remaining unpunished, AIPAC actually writing congressional legislation, and lack of treason indictments attest to the depth of the occupation. The Jewish state instigated all our Mideast wars and benefited from all. None were in American interests, yet we did the dying and suffered the Great Recession. Our diminished America is now being overthrown from within and transformed into a world dominating racist ultrapower, the JEWISH STATE OF AMERICA.

    November 10, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. JohnWV

    NO MORE WARS! Israel has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran, actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the $$$ billions we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. American foreign policy must again serve American interests, not the Jewish state's paranoid pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and racist empire in and beyond the Mideast. NO MORE WARS!

    November 10, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. jerrylax

    obama has destabilized the middle east...and some think he won't sell out to Iran...that's obviously his goal...suckers!

    November 10, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. HenryMiller

    It really isn't any of our business whether Iran has nukes or not.

    November 10, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Can he just attach this to his anti abortion bill? By the way, shouldn't he be apologizing to Hillary and the president for jumping to conclusions about Benghazi?

    November 10, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. James

    Will Israel have to dismantle its nuclear program also?

    November 10, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Lindsay is really angry that we haven't started a war in years. Maybe he can put a hold on some of Obama's nominees until we bomb Iran.

    November 10, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Deryk Houston

    Apparently, this Graham fellow doesn't seem to know that the Iranians do not have a nuclear weapons program. Even the Israeli's have agreed to that. (The Israelis are afraid that Iran might decide to go from a civilian nuclear program to a nuclear weapons program. That is quite different than having a nuclear weapons program that must be abandoned.)
    So how does Iran abandon something that they haven't started?
    I believe that Graham is a dangerous man that only spreads fear and hate in the world with information that is far from the truth. This kind of logic got the American's into the mess in Iraq which cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars and thousand of lives.

    November 10, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. tet1953

    This has little to do with Iran, imo. It is Lindsay Graham making a GOP countermove to whatever the administration is doing.

    November 10, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. kristine

    perhaps we should start by enforcing the sanctions already imposed. You know, the ones that were quietly lifted/ignored without public knowledge.

    November 10, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Happy Moore

    Why don't you pay them to run the pipeline through Iran.

    November 10, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Matt

    I think new sanctions are needed on Graham himself.

    November 10, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Bart Fargo

    If you watch closely during the interview on "State of the Union," you can catch a glimpse of Netanyahu furiously pounding away at Graham's rear as he gives his answers.

    November 10, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. voiceinthewind

    When is Israel going to dismantle their nuke programs, when they do then they can complain about others, until then they need to shut up and lead by example.

    November 10, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Gone

    Graham is out of it as usual. Unbridled support for Israel who has no intention of participating in any conflict settlement.

    November 10, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Abe

    It's a convoluted political world we live in here in the "great" USA !

    The Israeli / Jewish influence on our Politicians would have you believe that Tel Aviv is where the USA seat of power is and not Washington DC or the White House, IT IS VERY VERY VERY TRUE ! The tail continues to wag the dog !!

    Our politicians of both parties have abdicated their sworn oath to protect the interest of this country in favor Of ISRAEL'S !!

    November 10, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. jeffrey

    to JohnWV:..........you would have fit right in.. in Nazi Germany...too bad you are 70 years late................

    November 10, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Stubey

    This guy is so far in the hole with Isreal-they must have their hands moving his mouth for him. Isreal wants this war, nobody else does. Perhaps they envision themselves the sole rulers of a large jewish-led empire across the middle east, so they can kick muslimes out of their homes and kill their children in the streets. Just like Palestine.

    November 10, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. WillB2

    Leslie, the only people listening to you now are the Faux audience and both of them don't care about Iran sanctions either. You are just shilling for military contractors who are hoping for another profitable war.

    November 10, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Charlie

    what a war monger!....he and McCain needs to be voted out of office....and I am a registered Republican.....

    November 10, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Dr Veruju

    Graham, the Council on Foreign Relations Lackey.

    November 10, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. don in albuquerque

    Does Ms. Graham own controlling stock in these Sunday morning shows? Without them he would be about as important as Vitter.

    November 10, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Dennis Freeman

    Or, he could perform a duet with his buddy McCain to the melody of Barbara-Ann – "bomb, bomb Iran..."

    November 10, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. Larry in Houston

    I agree with you, Lindsey, new sanctions ARE needed.....But it's 2013, not the 40's / 50's / 60's / 70's / 80's / – - back in the 1940's, Lindsey, hate to give you a little history lesson, but why don't you "google" or look up who or what congress's ethnicity was, in the 1940's or 50's or 60's ? Ask yourself Lindsey, once you find out what their ethnicity was in 1948, when "they" (congress) "Voted" to approve "statehood" to a certain part of the middle east....Then, they were still 98% of the same heritage, Lindsey, in 1967, when "they" approved sending tanks & fighter jets over there, so they could annex some land, ( it was approved by Johnson)
    Bottom line Lindsey, the ethnicity (or background heritage) of The Current Congress has changed in the last 20 years. People like netanhayu is going to have a difficult time, trying to get you people in congress giving him an ear.
    >sorry to be so blunt<

    November 10, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Allen R. Scott Msgt USAF REtired

    If you want a war you better be the FIRST one to go there Senator not the young 18 year olds that have been to Iraq and Afganistan

    November 10, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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