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Source: The Hill

Oct 10, 2023

Graham: US should threaten Iranian oil infrastructure


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday suggested the U.S. should threaten Iranian oil infrastructure if the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas continues to escalate.

“If there is an escalation in this conflict, if hostages start getting killed, if Hezbollah in the north attacks Israel in strength, we should tell the Ayatollah we will destroy your oil refineries and your oil infrastructure,” Graham said Monday in an interview on NewsNation’s “The Hill.”

“We will put you out of business. Without money coming from Iran and weapons coming from the Iranians, Hamas will be nothing. Hezbollah will be nothing,” Graham said.

When pressed over who should take the action against Iran’s oil fields, Graham said it should be a joint-move from both Israel and the United States.

“We have a chance to reset here,” Graham said. “This is an Israeli ‘9/11,’ it couldn’t have happened without a lot of money and technology and weapons. So it’s time to hold them accountable. The escalation of the conflict should result in a joint attack on the Iranian oil infrastructure to put them out of business.”

Hamas, which is backed by Iran, launched a multi-pronged surprise attack against Israel over the weekend, invading multiple Israel towns by land, sea and air, as well as an onslaught of rocket strikes out of Gaza.

A day after Hamas’s incursion early Saturday, Lebanese armed group Hezbollah — a terrorist group with ties to Iran’s government — said it fired off guided rockets and artillery at multiple disputed areas in Israel.

The militant group’s attack has raised questions over the role Iran or Hezbollah played in the incursion.

U.S. deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer said on Monday Iran was “broadly complicit” in the Hamas attacks, pointing to the country’s efforts to train and provide the group with arms.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official on Monday told The Associated Press that only about a half dozen Hamas commanders in Gaza were aware of the planned incursion and denied reports that Iranian security officials helped plan the attack or approved the incursion at a meeting last week in Beirut.

Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership, told The AP that Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation,” while noting Hamas has produced its own rockets and trained its own members since the 2014 Gaza war.

The death toll in Israel on Monday rose to at least 900 individuals, including both soldiers and civilians, from both sides, according to The Associated Press. An additional 680 people have been killed in Gaza so far as Israel continues to ramp up its offensive against Hamas, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said Monday.

At least 11 Americans are among the casualties, President Biden said Monday.

Graham said the U.S. policy should “hold the Ayatollah accountable” for the deaths of Americans.

Over 100 individuals have also reportedly been taken hostage by Hamas, some of which may be American citizens, Biden said Monday.

When asked if the potential killing of hostages should be a red line for Biden, Graham called the Biden administration’s view towards Iran “naive as hell.”

“They [Iran] are religious Nazis,” Graham said. “Listen to the language coming from the Ayatollah and his henchmen. They want to purify Islam in their own image. Saudi Arabia is at risk here. They want to destroy the Jewish state. They want to kill all of the Jews and come after us.”

Graham said if he were the Biden administration, he would tell Iranians “any escalation at all [means] we’re coming after you.”

Graham also touched upon Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s claim that the $6 billion in unfrozen funds in the U.S. prisoner swap with Iran have remained unspent, pushing back against suggestions the Biden administration’s deal last month may have contributed to the attacks.

Graham said while Iran has not spent the funds, the U.S. granting clemency on the $6 billion “reinforces the narrative” that the U.S. does not see Iran as “bad actors.”

“The Biden administration needs to reset,” Graham said. “The idea there is no link, I think it’s silly. There is a direct link, but it’s been going on for a long time.”

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