Lindsay Graham puts Iran on notice: Your future is on the line

Lindsay Graham puts Iran on notice: Your future is on the line

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)

Lindsay Graham puts Iran on notice: Your future is on the line

Twenty Republican senators want to hit Iran where it hurts most, even if Joe Biden's administration is unwilling to do so.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, and others signed a letter to Biden on Monday calling for him to freeze the $6 billion he recently made available to Iran.

The administration has claimed the money was not used to fund the weekend attack that saw Hamas invade Israel on a killing and kidnapping spree against "soft targets" at a music festival and other sites near the Hamas-led Gaza Strip.

Disturbing images have surfaced as well as reports that Hamas killed 40 babies and children – beheading some of them – in a kibbutz, an agricultural community, near the Gaza border.

Reports differ on the number of hostages held by Hamas. The terrorist group originally said it held more than 100 hostages, but the Israeli Defense Forces later estimated the number to be more than 30.

Putting Iran out of the oil business

Sen. Graham's tolerance level for harm to Israeli hostages and who should be blamed is entirely clear.

"I am calling on this administration to tell the Iranians that if there's further escalation, if one hostage is killed, if another group attacks Israel, we will destroy your oil infrastructure and put you out of business. If we do not do that, this war gets bigger," Graham said on Washington Watch Tuesday.

Graham argues that Hamas is incapable of delivering a planned attack of such coordination and sophistication, an attack that included terrorist landings by motorized gliders.

"It is impossible for this coordinated attack on Israel – land, sea and air – very complicated, very sophisticated, in my view, to be planned and executed without Iran's knowledge. So, the administration is willfully trying to avoid labeling Iran as part of this," Graham told show host Tony Perkins.

In his remarks about the Israel-Hamas war Tuesday, Biden pledged support for Israel but never mentioned Iran – which earned an estimated $20-22 billion for its oil exports in 2022.

"We need to put the Iranians on notice that the pillage, the murder and the destruction is coming to an end," Graham continued. "You're responsible for killing 14 Americans. If one of these hostages is executed by Hamas, if there's an escalation against Israel in any way, we're going to you, Iran. We're going to put you out of the oil business. You won't have any money to sponsor terrorism." (Update: Number of U.S. citizens killed by Hamas terrorists rises to 22)

Give Israel what it needs, put Iran on notice

Israeli troops Wednesday afternoon were amassing near the Gaza border for what was viewed as an imminent ground invasion.

Graham said the U.S. should stand ready to give Israel whatever it needs, not only in terms of material support, but emotional support too.

"We need to be all-in in giving Israel what they need if they need to go in and attack on the ground to destroy Hamas, which will be one bloody fight – and we should never suggest they have to stop," Graham added.

That suggestion has already come from others.

United Nations Security General Antonio Guterres wrote Monday on X, formerly Twitter: "While I recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law. Civilians must be respected and protected at all times."

Meanwhile, Hamas builds much of its terrorist infrastructure in densely populated civilian area, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

"Hamas infrastructure is deliberately embedded within civilian areas and in proximity to international assets, using the population as human shields. In order to mitigate harm to non-combatants, the IDF carries out surgical strikes," the IDF wrote in a report that also showed two photos of key targets inside public buildings but also surrounded by a school, mosque, hospital, gas station, two pharmacies and a government building.

"We should give Israel the freedom of action and all the weapons they need to destroy Hamas, and we should put Iran on notice: 'You're next if this gets bigger,'" Graham said.

Peace talks with Saudis jeopardized?

Israel has been nearing a Biden-brokered peace agreement with Saudia Arabia with the Saudis seemingly prepared to step back from their demand that such an agreement would only come after a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians had been realized.

Graham said he plans to travel to Saudi Arabia to encourage the Saudis to see the Israel agreement through to completion. If completed, the deal would be a blow to the spring's China-brokered deal that restored a diplomatic relationship between Saudia Arabia and Iran.

Many believe the looming Saudi-Israel agreement triggered the Hamas attack with Iran's encouragement.

"Oh, 1,000 percent," Graham said in agreement. "I talked to the Saudi ambassador yesterday. She said, '1,000 percent.' The Israelis believe 1,000 percent.

"If you don't believe Iran's behind this attack, then you just don't want to believe it. The reason they did it now is that we're getting close to a deal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict that would isolate Iran even further," Graham said.