US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-KY) gave an interview to Fox News on Wednesday, in which he repeatedly asserted that Tehran seeks nuclear weapons, while accusing Iran of being responsible for the recent tanker attacks.
"If the Iranians follow through on their threat to start enriching again... and basically take their enrichment program to a nuclear level in terms of weapons-grade production, Israel's in a world of hurt,” the Senator said. "How do you stop that to make Iran understand you're not going to let that happen?"
In his interview, Graham named Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a “murderous thug,” while calling on the White House to put Iranian refineries on a “target list” over recent attacks on two tankers in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.
According to the Senator, the best way of showing Iran your intentions to stop Tehran from getting nuclear weapons is to blow up Iranian oil refineries and sink the Iranian Navy, but only if another oil tanker is attacked in the Gulf.
"[Trump] should put the [Iranian] oil refineries on the target list and look at sinking the Iranian Navy if they attack shipping again,” Graham said. "If I were the president, I would tell the Iranians: if there's an attack on a ship or a pipeline or anything like that, we're going to blow up your oil refinery because they're trying to drive up costs by creating chaos."
According to Graham, when Trump unilaterally pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal, Graham told the president that the latter was “right to put sanctions on this state sponsor of terrorism.”
“They are the most murderous regime on the planet, and that’s saying a lot,” he said.
Speaking of Trump, Graham suggested that the president “doesn’t want a conflict, but he’s going to run out of options soon.”
“That’s what is about to happen in the next 10 days: we’re heading to a conflict here between the Ayatollah, who is a murderous thug, Israel and maybe the United States and the rest of the world.”
According to the Senator, Israel will be involved in the military conflict with Iran he claims is coming.
"I know Bibi [Netanyahu] very well," Graham said. "He is not going to sit on the sidelines and let a second Holocaust be set."
The US has recently ramped up political and military pressure against Iran, sending military forces to the region while citing an undisclosed and alleged threat from Tehran. US officials have accused Iran of attacking oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, an allegation which Tehran denies.
Tehran underscores it does not pursue nuclear armaments and is adhering to the terms of the 2015 Joint Cooperative Plan of Action nuclear deal. The US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, reimposing sanctions lifted during the Obama administration.