Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the bipartisan Group of 14 working on new Iran sanctions, said Congress’ legislation is going to be something that “really defines the end game.”
“I think there’s bipartisan support to dismantle the plutonium reactor and to stop enriching in Iran completely. After 30 years of chaos, mayhem and murder by the Iranian regime, should they really be allowed to enrich uranium?” Graham said this morning on CNN.
“The 20 percent uranium that’s been diluted, that’s a good start. If they want a commercial nuclear program, let the international community provide them fuel rods, like we do with Canada and Mexico. There is no right to enrich. So we’re so far away from what I think an acceptable end game is that I think you’re going to see Congress weigh in more aggressively, not less,” he added.
That was suggested Sunday by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who indicated that a sanctions bill is not dead despite the administration’s wishes.
“We had these guys on the rope. What I was looking for is an interim deal that went a long way toward the final deal. This actually leaves in place everything that would allow them to make a weapon. It doesn’t dismantle anything. It doesn’t really roll back their capability. And if you’re Israel, you got to wake up and look at this deal as a nightmare because the capability to go nuclear is very much in place, hasn’t been reduced much at all,” Graham said.
“And remember North Korea? There were inspectors everywhere all the time and sanctions were in place and the U.N. is not going to be a picket fence to keep the Iranians from going nuclear in the eyes of the Israeli. No Israel government is going to rely on the U.N. to stop the advancement of the Iranian nuclear program. They want it dismantled. I want it dismantled.”
Graham said the strategy needs to be getting Iran to the table, then “you let them know what the final deal will look like and say, take this or else.”
“We’re dealing with people who are not only untrustworthy, this is a murderous regime that murders their own people, that has created chaos and mayhem throughout the whole world, the largest sponsor of state terrorism, and we’re treating them complexly out of sync with who they are. That’s what bothers me so much. This deal doesn’t represent the fact that we’re dealing with some of the most thuggish people in the world,” he said.
The senator predicted a sanctions bill will emerge in the next couple of weeks “that will be bipartisan and tie the sanctions to the end game.”
“My goal is to get new sanctions in place and the only way they can be relieved is if you dismantle the reactor, not suspend construction. That if you stop enrichment, not just pause it, I think the new round of sanctions will be focused on an end game that will make the world safe and prevent Iran from having a nuclear capability. Right now the interim deal leaves their capability totally intact,” he said. “The new round of sanctions will be focused on the end game and it is coming soon.”