US Senator Lindsey Graham has warned the US government of sending the wrong message to nuclear-armed Israel as Iran moved closer to make an agreement over its nuclear energy program with world powers.
“The Israelis are apoplectic about what we're doing,” he said on CNN's "State of the Union." “I've never been more worried about the Obama administration's approach to the Middle East than I am now.”
The White House offered a “very modest sanctions relief” as Iran and the six major world powers-- the US, Britain France, China, Russia and Germany-- engaged in talks over Iran’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland over the weekend.
The talks ended inconclusively on Sunday when France rejected a list of demands on Iran, saying they were too generous to result in an easing of sanctions. More negotiating sessions are scheduled for November 20.
Sen. Graham said the sanctions should be kept in place, and coupled with the threat of military force, to compel Iran to stop its uranium enrichment activities.
“If it ends with anything less, the world will regret this,” Graham said. “My fear is that we're going to end up creating a North Korea kind of situation in the Middle East.”
Senate leaders showed bipartisan support Sunday for tougher sanctions on Iran.
Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a key architect of anti-Iran sanctions, called on Congress to consider new economic sanctions against Iran.
“I think that the possibility of moving ahead with new sanctions, including wording it in such a way that if there is a deal that is acceptable that those sanctions could cease upon such a deal, is possible,” Menendez said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
US lawmakers’ outburst happened after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced a possible agreement with Iran as a “historic blunder.”