Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday urged President-elect to follow through with his campaign promise to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear deal in response to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warning not to push for changes in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“I would encourage President-elect Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to get a better deal with Iran regarding their nuclear ambitions,” Graham said in a statement. “Unlike the weak-kneed Obama Administration, I don’t believe President-elect Trump will back away from his promise simply because it is upsetting to the President of Iran.”
On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Tehran will “not allow” the new president “to tear up” the nuclear deal signed last year.
“The U.S. is our enemy. They want to put pressure on us as much as they can,” Rouhani said in a speech at the University of Tehran commemorating the killings of Iranian students protesting a visit by then-U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon in 1953. “Whatever plans he has, it will be revealed later. He may desire to weaken the nuclear deal. He may desire to rip up the deal. Do you suppose we will allow this? Will our nation allow this?”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would discuss with Trump the “bad” nuclear deal after he enters the White House. “Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That has not changed and will not change. As far as President-elect Trump, I look forward to speaking to him about what to do about this bad deal,” Netanyahu told the Saban Forum via satellite from Jerusalem.
In October, during their recent meeting in New York, Trump told Netanyahu he thought the nuclear deal was bad for Israel and for the U.S. “I was with Bibi Netanyahu the other day, and we talked about it,” Trump said during a town hall meeting ahead of the second televised presidential debate when asked to point to the biggest foreign policy failure of the last 15 years. “Not to reveal what he said, but I can tell you what I said, ‘This is horrible for Israel. It is horrible for our country.’”
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to rip up or renegotiate the international accord. “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” Trump told AIPAC in March. Last year, Trump suggested he would strictly enforce the nuclear agreement and work to improve it. “We have a horrible contract, but we do have a contract,” Trump said. “I have all my life — I love to buy bad contracts where … and I make those contracts good. This is a perfect example of taking over a bad contract. I will find something in that contract that will be very, very well-scrutinized by us, and I think they will not be able to do it, whatever it may be.”
But when asked by now his appointed National Security Advisor retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in September what he’s going to do about the deal, Trump promised: “We will solve that problem if I get the chance, believe me. If I get the chance, you will be very happy. You will be very happy.”
Rouhani also warned Iran “will show a reaction” if President Barack Obama signs the Iran Sanctions Act 10-year extension into law.
The law, first passed by Congress in 1996 and renewed several times since then, allows the U.S. to sanction companies for doing business with Iran. Last week, the Senate voted 99-0 to pass the 10-year extension, which will ensure there are sanctions to “snap back” should Iran violate its international commitments. The White House said the President expects to sign the bill since a clean extension would not be a violation of the JCPOA Iran deal.
Graham said he intends to introduce legislation that would impose sanctions on the Iranian regime for being the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and testing missiles in violation of United Nations resolutions in the next Congress. “It’s past time the Iranian regime pay a price for their provocative behavior,” he said. “Passage of this legislation through Congress will give President-elect Trump additional leverage to get a better deal and once and for all truly change Iranian behavior.”