GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham had some tough advice for President Donald Trump on Wednesday should the Iranians make good on new threats to begin large-scale uranium enrichment and attack more tankers in the Persian Gulf — strike back against Tehran’s economic and military assets.
“My ‘red line’ is if there’s any more disruption of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz that’s linked to Iran,” the South Carolina Republican said. “Take out their navy, bomb their refineries if there’s any more attacks on American interests.
“Go after Iran so that they’ll…feel pain,” he continued. “I’m not talking about invading Iran, I’m not talking about a land invasion. If they go back into the enrichment business at a level that would lead to a nuclear weapon, we need to sit down with Israel and other allies and come up with a way to stop it.”
Graham noted that Israel cannot “afford” to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon for its own national security. He also said that Iran, by its actions, was attempting to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its European allies, the latter of whom have been reluctant to publicly blame Iran for last week’s tanker attacks, despite U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) releasing video evidence of an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the targeted tankers.
Iran on Monday issued the new enrichment threat three days after attacks on two oil tankers. The threat led POTUS Trump to order 1,000 more U.S. troops to the Middle East, vowing once more to never allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.
The New York Times reported:
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said that within 10 days the country will have produced and kept in its stockpiles more low-enriched uranium — the sort used to fuel power plants — than allowed by the 2015 containment deal. The agency also left open the possibility that it might soon begin enriching the uranium to higher levels of purity, edging it closer to what would be necessary to build a nuclear weapon.
Critics have complained that by pulling out of the Obama-era ‘nuclear deal,’ Trump put Iran back on a path to developing a nuclear weapon. But the president and his supporters note the deal signed between the Obama administration, Iran, and five other European nations was not strong enough to prevent Tehran from developing a weapon over time. Also, they note that the Iranians have been cheating on the agreement from the outset.
In his Fox News interview, Graham said Trump should exert maximum diplomatic and military pressure to prevent Iran’s bomb development.
“The best thing the president can do is stop that, and how do you stop that to make Iran understand you’re not going to let that happen? I think he should put their oil refineries on a target list, he should look at sinking the Iranian navy if they attack shipping again,” Graham said.
“But what I worry most about is a conflict between Israel and Iran,” he continued. “And we’re gonna come to Israel’s aid of that happens.”
Asked if POTUS Trump “is ready to do that,” Graham — who says he talks to the president a lot — replied, “He’s had it with Iran.”
“I think he’s going to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon. I think he’s going to stop them from disrupting the flow of oil and blowing up the pipelines of other nations,” Graham continued. “He doesn’t want a conflict but he’s about to run out of options here.”
Then he added: “Remember this if you remember nothing else about this interview: Israel is not going to allow the ayatollah to build a nuclear weapon to destroy the state of Israel, nor should they. That’s what’s about to happen in the next 10 days.
“We’re headed to a conflict here between the Ayatollah, who’s a murderous thug, Israel, and maybe the United States and the rest of the world,” Graham continued.
“I know Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] very well. He is not gonna sit on the sidelines and let the second Holocaust” occur, he added. “It’s not gonna happen.”
The ball is in Iran’s court.