Graham readying use of force authorization against Iranian regime

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday he's working on legislation that would give the president the green light to attack Iran if negotiations over the country's alleged nuclear weapons program stall.

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Graham, one of the GOP's most prominent hawks, told reporters on Tuesday that he's worried the administration's failure to get congressional approval for a strike against Syria has emboldened Iran. He said he'll be working with Democrats and Republicans on legislation that would encourage diplomacy, threaten more sanctions and authorize military action as a last resort.

“I do believe without the threat of credible military force by us, the Iranians are going to just slow-walk,” Graham said. “So I'm trying to create the dynamic that there is bipartisan support for continued diplomacy, sanctions and the use of force as a last resort.”

Graham said Iran has been pursuing its weapons program while the Obama administration – and the rest of the world – has been focused on Syria. He said U.S. policymakers should urgently refocus their attention.

“The Iranian debate should begin pretty soon – what should we do, and how should we do it?” Graham said. “I do believe that it's important for [the president] to have in his back pocket if negotiations get serious an authorization to use force.”

The comments come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to meet with President Obama on Sept. 30 ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly. At the top of their agenda: Iran.

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