Does a proposed international deal go far enough to protect the United States and its allies from a potential nuclear war with Iran? South Carolina’s senior senator doesn’t think so.
The U.S. and five other world powers hammered out a deal Sunday with Iran under which Tehran will limit its nuclear energy program in exchange for initial relief from international trade and financial sanctions.
Appearing on CNN Monday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the interim deal does not go far enough.
“The end game is to dismantle the plutonium reactor. The end game should be to stop enrichment,” he said on CNN’s “New Day” program. “This still allows 18,000 centrifuges to stay in place and it basically just suspends construction of the plutonium reactor.”
The other countries joining the United States in agreement of the deal include Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.
Graham said he does not think the negotiations considered that the U.S. is dealing with an “untrustworthy” regime. He said he expects new and stricter sanctions against Iran will come out of Congress in the next two weeks. He said the sanctions will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
“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 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 nuclear capability.”
Graham said there is an alternative between sanctions and military intervention. He said the sanctions should be formulated in a way to force Iran to the negotiating table and once there, tell Iranian leaders they can only develop nuclear power for commercial use under certain conditions.
“Have a commercial nuclear reactor, just let the international community control the fuel cycle,” he said. “You’re insisting on the right to enrich, given your behavior, you have abandoned that right. One there is no right and we’re not going to give it to you. Once you get them to the table, you let them know what the final deal will look like and say ‘Take this, or else!'”