November 10th, 2013
10:38 AM ET

Graham: New sanctions on Iran needed

By CNN's Jason Seher

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.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Sausage Frenzy

    Who pays these people? Whose agenda are they promoting? What vested interests to they represent? Answers please press.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:36 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Who pays these people you ask, Sausage. The answer to that is quite easy. It's the powerful M.I.C. in Washington. This is exactly how they're currently running our government!!!

      November 12, 2013 at 9:14 am | Reply
  2. John McKane

    Thank God John McCain was not elected back in 2008. If he was. the Middle East would be a nuclear wasteland by now. This creep Lindsey Graham is no better. Both clowns are a national disgrace!!! At least, the Taliban never brought shame on this country!

    November 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  3. Who is behind Lindsey Graham's funding?

    What would over a million dollars towards Mr. Graham in contributions, Hedge Funds & Pac money get you?

    November 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  4. Who is behind Lindsey Graham's funding?

    It makes sense why he would be pushing so hard for more sanctions. It interesting how politicians act once you know who's behind their funding.
    Senator Lindsey Graham has reported a total of 1,311 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $1,350,195 in the 2013-2014 cycle. Of which the majority are from defense (like Force Protection, Inc. is a manufacturer of ballistic- and blast-protected vehicles), Hedge Funds and single Issue Interest Groups (Israeli). And the biggest contributor is American energy Co's. Sources: Cited: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00009975&cycle=2014&type=C&newMem=N&recs=100. Recently the news said Gas Prices lowered due in part to eased tensions between US & Iraq. That's more money & our pockets & less profit in energy co's profits. Allways follow the money trail, you would be surprised where it leads you too.

    November 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  5. stephen a johnson

    Lindsay Graham is a guy who thinks very highly of war and very little of the havoc it causes to Americans he wants to send everywhere to "protect American interests". He has learned nothing from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeldt.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • brandon

      thats the gop way! they don't want healthcare for everyone so they have more money for there war machine. think about it if we cut only 10% of are milatary spending everyone could get healthcare for free! but no we spend more than any other nation. if you add up how much every other country spends on ther military you would see that we out spend everyone 20 times over. we as americans need too stand up to the gop and tell them to stop holding us hostage

      November 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • Who is behind Linsey funding?

      Agreed. It makes sense why he would be pushing so hard for more sanctions. It interesting how politicians act once you know who's behind their funding.
      Senator Lindsey Graham has reported a total of 1,311 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $1,350,195 in the 2013-2014 cycle. Of which the majority are from defense (like Force Protection, Inc. is a manufacturer of ballistic- and blast-protected vehicles), Hedge Funds and single Issue Interest Groups (Israeli). And the biggest contributor is American energy Co's. Sources: Cited: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00009975&cycle=2014&type=C&newMem=N&recs=100. Recently the news said Gas Prices lowered due in part to eased tensions between US & Iraq. That's more money & our pockets & less profit in energy co's profits. Allways follow the money trail, you would be surprised where it leads you too.

      November 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  6. Nate

    He would look right in some rainbow short-shorts and Elton John sunglasses.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:41 am | Reply
  7. Maria1119

    Who cares is this helps destroy the GOP? All they want is to attack President Obama and the more they fail in their abusrd schemes, the more desperate. Knock youself out, Senator.

    November 11, 2013 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Exactly right, Maria. This fool Graham keeps on embarrassing this country by representing it, too! This is a bad reflection on the rest of us Americans!!!

      November 11, 2013 at 8:52 am | Reply
  8. Phelix.Unger

    This is diplomacy. Yaahooo

    November 11, 2013 at 3:09 am | Reply
  9. Lyndsie Graham

    This I strongly disagree with! The politics of hunger is inhumane and needs to cease right away. This is no more than another form of bullying by the right-wing thugs in Washington in order to get their way as always! Besides, haven't we done enough to the Iranian people as it is already? Only a stupid, crazy fool would say no!!!!!!!!!

    November 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  10. Random

    All it was , was a way to buy enough time to finish. The time to accept 'talks' is not when the finish line is < 1 month away. This was the reason it was so important to resolve syria with out starting a war with us/russia. So we would be free to deal with the real threat. You lost valuable time, and now are falling back on plan A from plan B. Insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By definition who ever is calling the shots is insane. No offence intended but sometimes another perspective helps. I think this was a major misstep, wasting precious time, and now falling back on plan A after it clearly didn't work and doesnt even have enough time to try to work now. The sanctions would need to take effect immediately and even if that was possible chances are the end game is already in motion.

    November 10, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • Random

      Where is mccain when you need him.

      November 10, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply
      • brandon

        mccain are you serious? all mccain ever says is bomb them. we would still be in 3 wars if it were up too him and starting another one with iran. thank god he lost the election his solution to everything is bomb bomb bomb and then ask questions later. oh yea i forgot he is republican.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

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