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June 1, 2015 8:23 am

Lindsey Graham: Eight Principles for Dealing With Iran

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Iran's Arak heavy water reactor. Photo: Wikipedia. President Barack Obama reluctantly signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. He was forced to accept, by overwhelming votes in both chambers, Congress’s constitutional role in reviewing any nuclear deal with Iran and the lifting of any congressionally imposed sanctions.

Now the toughest work begins.

The U.S. and Israel both understand that the Iranians, despite their repeated denials, continue to pursue a nuclear weapons capability. We also both understand that Iran has a long and troubled track record of sharing military technology with terrorist organizations.

It’s important that Obama now negotiate an agreement that will permanently prevent an untrustworthy Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons—or walk away. If he instead commits to a plan that will lead to a nuclear Iran, it is imperative that Congress stop it.

Iran is the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and the world. It sits at the nexus of nearly every major global threat: the Syrian crisis, the rise of the Islamic State terror group, the resurgence of al-Qaeda, the crisis in Iraq that threatens gains won with U.S. blood, the chaos in Yemen that is adding to the threat of an all-out regional war, and renewed weapons trade with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

To allow this pariah nation to acquire nuclear weapons and the ability to deploy them against us and our allies—and to share them with radical Islamist organizations—would constitute an incalculable threat to both our nations’ security. It would set off a nuclear arms race that would virtually guarantee a regional war with global implications.

Alarmingly, our negotiators and the Iranians have offered wildly differing interpretations of the negotiated framework. On every principle, Iran insists it will never accept our terms. Serious questions remain about how this deal can prevent a nuclear Iran.

Will international sanctions be lifted before proof that Iran is in compliance? How and when would sanctions be restored if there are violations? Can we have an agreement in good faith with a regime that for decades has lied and cheated and has never come clean about its past efforts to weaponize nuclear technology? Will Iran be required to demonstrate changed behavior with respect to its nuclear ambitions and its sponsorship of terrorism?

I have brought forward eight principles to ensure we get the right answers and achieve a sound, enforceable deal:

– Iran must not be allowed an enrichment capability greater than the practical needs to supply one commercial reactor. The Iranians should have access to peaceful nuclear power, but the infrastructure should be aligned to support the needs of a single nuclear reactor.

– Closure of all hardened and formerly secret sites. Iran must come clean on all outstanding issues raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), particularly concerning the possible military dimensions of Iran’s civilian nuclear program. The history of Iran’s nuclear program has been marked by deception. Sites like Fordo have no role in an Iranian civilian program. Iran must account for the full inventory of centrifuges, production facilities for components, the total number of components, assembly workshops, and storage depots for centrifuges.

– Anytime, anywhere inspections of all Iranian military and nonmilitary facilities. Iran shouldn’t have veto power over when inspectors visit its facilities, including the ability of independent parties to monitor and report on Iran’s compliance.

– Sanctions relief and access to funds currently in escrow must be phased in and fully conditioned on IAEA certification that Iran is in full compliance and has demonstrated sustained compliance over time. Allowing Iran access to these tens of billions of dollars in funds before it has fulfilled its portion of the agreement is unacceptable.

– There must be an explicit process for the “snapback” re-imposition of sanctions if Iran violates the deal. It took years to impose the sanctions which brought Iran to the negotiating table.

– Iran must not be allowed to conduct research and development on advanced centrifuges. Mastery of this technology will allow Iran to reduce its breakout time toward a nuclear weapon.

– Removal of all enriched uranium from Iran. There is no need for Iran to possess a large stockpile of low enriched uranium or any highly enriched uranium. With the exception of the small amounts enriched to 3.5 percent that will be created as part of Iran’s civilian enrichment process, all enriched uranium must be shipped out of Iran.

– Certification by the president that, before any restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program are lifted, Iran has changed its aggressive behavior in the region and no longer meets the qualifications to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism.

Sen. Lindsey Graham. Credit: U.S. Senate.

These eight principles largely reflect Obama’s negotiating position at the start of the process (demonstrating how far he has strayed from his original intentions). Adhering to these eight principles will ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons or has the means to spread nuclear technology to radical Islamist groups.

They will protect our national security and that of our close allies. Above all, they will reassert American leadership in the Middle East and reassure our allies in the region.

Any deal that does not adhere to them will fail, with dire consequences for global security.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican) is the senior U.S. senator from South Carolina. This column first appeared in Israel Hayom, whose English-language content is distributed exclusively by

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  • Larry Andrews

    There isn’t any country called Iran. It is called the Islamic Republic of Iran, because that is exactly what it is – a totalitarian theocracy. The Islamic Republic of Iran does not give its citizens the basic rights of freedom of speech, and freedom of press. The Islamic Republic of Iran has the world’s second largest reserves of natural gas, and the world’s fourth largest reserves of crude oil. Does that sound like a country that needs a “peaceful” nuclear energy program??!! Either the Islamic Republic of Iran dismantles and destroys its
    nuclear infrastructure, or it faces war against the United States, all the Western democracies, Israel, and all of the Sunni Muslim governments. That is a war it cannot win! It’s that simple!!

  • Honorables gentlemen…………
    Il y’a déja longtemps que le dernier des imbéciles a compris qu’il sera necessaire , indispensable , d’intervenir militairement en ce qui concerne l’Iran – Personne dans le monde occidental n’en veux aux Iraniens – Mais les dirigeants actuels ,des religieux bornés et fanatiques rendent cette intervention inévitable -Menacer d’exterminer un pays voisin…n’est tout simplement pas acceptable : et c’est dans ce but qu’ils veulent acquérir l’arme atomique…pour vitrifier Israél -Le risque est tout simplement de se retrouver avec ces deux pays vitrifiés : et cela fait partie du probable si nous n’intervenons pas avant !Et si il n’est pas déja trop tard , il est certainement juste temps !.-Chaque heure compte…

  • For what my view is worth. Remembering the chaos which ensued after the fall of the Shah; back in the early ’70’s, when sanctions were applied Iran was then a threat to world peace. Again allying with communist Russia. It is difficult to ascertain where Russia stands today on Iran – since so recently pulling away from Turkey. In ’74/75 SAS UK were called in to release Iranian staff in the London Embassy. Many were taken and not seen again in Iran. Until politics is separated from every Islamic country in the middle east – Iran cannot be given the opportunity to declare nuclear war, the rest will follow simply because the mentality of religion saturated minds is infantile/immature. Obama really needs a Professor of Political contemporary history to advise. I see the Republicans are made up of more senior politicians who very likely were around in the ’70’s as BBN. Our generation lived through the Iranian coup by the mad Mullah’s and military. This was the onset of the Afghan war. Communist Russia forced to dis-associate from Iran. The ’73 Yom Kippur and OPEC Oil crisis. Obama and the kids of today in power neither know their contemporary history and its impact on world politics. I don’t consider Saudi Arabia Qatar and the entire UAE trustworthy – none of these nations have stable economies. The under privileged majority neither have jobs, decent economy, education, health care/welfare. I put it to the press, is it any wonder we are experiencing Jihad world wide? Qatar threatens to buy up Greek Islands in the Ionian Sea. Why? Exactly, what does all this Islamic activity tell us? Islamic nations need to focus on their own, improve living standards for all and do away with autocratic so called royal families, who are simply no more than tribal leaders with too much money, which they incidentally use for their own self interest like sweeties! They are all despotic, greedy, unethical and I personally feel we have to hit where it hurts. As Hussain did, target all middle eastern Oil fields, maybe then these people will come to their senses and grow up. In the meantime Israel is surrounded by juvenile politicians too heavily influenced by the prophet of Islam.

  • HaDaR

    Enough wit these RINO’s a-la- MacCain.

  • Arty Cohn

    The concept that Iran needs to have Uranium separation equipment to feed a peaceful nuclear program is obfuscating nonsense. Running centrifuges to separate fissionable U235 is needed purely for military or terrorist purposes.

  • Marshall

    The only coherent explanation for the Obama Administration’s conduct of the nuclear talks with Iran is that the real objective is to prove that Obama, unlike his predecessor, is capable of reaching an agreement with Iran, and thus prove that he is a much better president than George Bush.

    The Iranians figured this out years ago, and this leads inexorably to the strategy Iran has pursued: Get what concessions they can at each stage of the negotiations and then announce that they will not agree to whatever concessions they appear to have made to get the concessions from the West. They pocket our concessions and then insist that theirs be discussed further. This process leads inexorably to a deal in which the only Western “success” is that Iran will allow the US to introduce the Security Council resolution lifting all sanctions permanently.

    The only way to stop the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons is regime change, and this must occur before they get the bomb. We may have only a few months left until Iran announces they have a bomb.




    Bravo Lindsey.
    How can anyone argue against Graham’s 8 points. Iran has constantly stated that it will continue it’s nuclear development no matter what kind of deal it negotiates. And of course they repeat day after day they want to destroy Israel.
    What I find interesting is the fact that none of our media is mentioning the fact that in Obama’s negotiations there’s no mention of the fact that Iran is developing it’s nuclear program in North Korea (and who know’s where else.

  • NCS


  • Rebecca Burack

    I couldn’t agree more with Senator Graham but have real concerns that our president has the same mindset.

  • Algemeiner is welcome to publish this comment, and I hope you will forward it to Lindsey Graham. I do not have an email address for him.
    Lindsey Graham can strike a huge blow against the worldwide growth of militant Islam by means of a speech in which he relates what every sane, rational, informed person must know but which political leaders are afraid to say: Islam is a fake. It is based on scriptures that comprise the Koran. Scriptures ae not historical fact. There is not a scrap of evidence that anything published in the Koran, in its thousands of different versions, is true. The original manuscript, probably dated at mid-7th Century, “disappeared.” All of the original copies of the original manuscript “disappeared.” There is no way to compare what the original author wrote with what appears in the modern Koran, leaving editors to revise as they have wished over the centuries. Nothing is known about the original author who invented Allah, the stories about Allah, and the lengthy quotations from Allah – all revised, with some of the most fouled up contradictions to be found in any literature. Scriptures are unique in the field of expository writing. They alone have not required identification of the author and factual evidence of what is written. There is not a scrap of evidence that there is an Allah (other than the 7th-Century scribe who made up what he wrote and is therefore the only Allah who ever existed). Nor is there any evidence to support the actual existence of a “Prophet Mohammed” by that name or any other. He is mentioned in the Koran only three times, very briefly, and the mention states that he was only one of a chain or train of messengers that passed on the words of Allah, the original messengers being – can you believe it? – Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, all of whom are identified in the Koran as Muslims worshipping Allah. There is a whole lot more that Lindsey can use for pioneering statements about Allah, the sine quo non for Islam, and the Koran. You will find it in the 140 pages of a book I am working on titled “The Teachings of Islam.” It is being funded via GoFundMe. Use this link to read about me and my book – Copy and paste that or type it into your web address bar. When my book comes out, it will demolish Islam which is revealed as a 1300-year-old fraud on humanity. I will be glad to download it into anybody’s email inbox. Lindsey Graham could use it to strike a giant blow at the Islamists by revealing the information in it. – Burton H. Wolfe
    If Algemeier will allow my contact to be published, with my permission, it is