Graham warns Iran if it escalates violence
BY EMILY JACOBS
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
DIGITAL EXTRA | NATIONAL POLITICS
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned Iran against helping escalate the war in Israel, saying that if the country does, the United States will be “coming for” them. At least 3,600 people and 29 Americans have died since the conflict erupted last Saturday. Those numbers do not account for the more than 100 Israelis and Americans being held hostage by Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist group that operates in Gaza that carried out the surprise attack. “Here’s my message: If Hezbollah, which is a proxy of Iran, launches a massive attack on Israel, I will consider that a threat to the State of Israel, existential in nature,” Graham said during an appearance on NBC’S Meet the Press on Sunday. “I will introduce a resolution in the United States Senate to allow military action by the United States in conjunction with Israel to knock Iran out of the oil business. Iran, if you escalate this war, we’re coming for you.” Pressed on if that meant he was effectively saying he was prepared for the U.S. to declare war on Iran, Graham replied that he is “poised to use military force to destroy the source of funding for Hamas and Hezbollah.” “The idea that Iran read about this operation in the paper or on television is laughable,” he said. “93% of Hezbollah and Hamas’s money comes from Iran. They’re the source of the problem. They’re the great evil.” “So, if Hezbollah escalates against Israel, it will be because Iran told them to,” he continued. “Then Iran, you’re in the crosshairs of the United States and Israel.” The holiday weekend attack, which came on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, marked the first time since 1973 that the country had declared war. When asked about his call this past week for the U.S. to work with Israel to destroy Iran’s oil infrastructure, the South Carolina senator doubled down and said that he would introduce legislation allowing for U.S. military action to bomb Iran’s oil refineries if Hezbollah attacks Israel. Graham, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that handles foreign aid, also announced his plans to travel to Israel and Saudi Arabia with Senate colleagues in the coming days to encourage continued normalization talks between the two nations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is currently leading a bipartisan delegation in Tel Aviv. He was joined by Sens. Mitt Romney, R-utah, Bill Cassidy, R-LA., Mark Kelly, D-ariz., and Jacky Rosen, D-nev.