Graham: Iran nuclear agreement ‘akin to declaring war on Israel’

Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Defense: US blames ISIS for Turkey attack | Afghan visas in spending bill | Army rolls up its sleeves Senate panel passes bill that would create 4K visas for Afghans Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (S.C.) and other GOP senators are blasting the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration with Iran, arguing it will not prevent Tehran from obtaining weapons and increases the chances of war.

Graham, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, called it “akin to declaring war on Israel and the Sunni Arabs.”

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“My initial impression is that this deal is far worse than I ever dreamed it could be and will be a nightmare for the region, our national security and eventually the world at large,” he told Bloomberg News.

ON MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” he declared it a “death sentence over time for Israel if they don’t push back.”

Graham challenged Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), slated to become the Senate Democratic leader in 2017, and other Democrats who say they are supporters of Israel to oppose the deal.

“Chuck Schumer is supposed to be the guardian of Israel. He goes around everywhere and says, 'My name is Schumer. It means guardian of Israel,' " he said. “Well if you care about Israel, you will not put her in this box. If you care about the United States, you will not allow our chief antagonist to become a nuclear threshold nation guaranteed in nature with no restrictions for them to go beyond that.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), a freshman Republican, said on the same program that Congress would pass a resolution of disapproval killing the deal, which needs two-thirds support in both chambers.

He called it “a terrible, dangerous mistake.”

Earlier this year, Cotton spearheaded a letter to Iran’s leadership signed by most Senate Republicans warning that Congress could block any deal negotiated with the United States and five other powers.

John Bolton, former President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations, blasted it as “an absolute disaster" in a tweet.

“The only thing we need to ‘verify’ about #IranDeal is what Obama was thinking when he agreed to it.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another Republican presidential candidate, pledged he would reserve the option to use military power to topple Iran’s government if elected to the White House.

“Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and bring ‘death to America,’ ” Huckabee said in a statement.

“[Secretary of State] John Kerry should have long ago gotten up on his crutches, walked out of the sham talks, and went straight to Jerusalem to stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and declared that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran,” he added.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerBob CorkerSenate honors Tennessee coach Pat Summitt GOP senator: Something 'very, very good' can come from Brexit vote GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call MORE (Tenn.), who will lead the Republican legislative response to the deal, did not condemn it as harshly as some of his colleagues but raised strong concerns.

“I want to read the agreement in detail and fully understand it, but I begin from a place of deep skepticism that the deal actually meets the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he said.

He warned that lifting sanctions would pour tens of billions of dollars into Iran’s treasury, potentially accelerating the development of the country's nuclear program down the road and giving it a greater ability to support terrorist groups.

“In the coming days, Congress will need to scrutinize this deal and answer whether implementing the agreement is worth dismantling our painstakingly constructed sanctions regime that took more than a decade to establish,” he said.