McCain: Embarrass Russia, China into Iran sanctions if need be

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that he wasn’t surprised by the secret memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates warning that the U.S. lacks an effective long-term policy to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

“I didn’t need a secret memo from Mr. Gates to ascertain that,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We do not
have a coherent policy. I think that’s pretty obvious.”

{mosads}The senator the sanctions threats against Iran, even dating back to the George W. Bush administration, were ringing hollow.

“We have to be willing to pull the trigger on significant sanctions,” he said. “And
then we have to make plans for whatever contingencies follow if those
sanctions are not effective.”

That meant going forward on sanctions without Russia and China if need be, McCain said.

“So why don’t we get our European allies together and let’s impose
sanctions from that aspect of it?” he said. “Maybe that would embarrass somehow or
force the Russians and Chinese to act in a more cooperative fashion.”

McCain advocated sanctions on refined petroleum and calling out human-rights violations in Iran. When asked about military action, he said that is an option that needed to be on the table.

“I think that we — it’s pretty clear that the Israelis cannot live with
a nuclear-armed Iran,” he said. “We saw news reports that the Syrians have moved
Scud missiles into southern Lebanon. That is a serious escalatory move.
Now Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are within range of Scud missiles.”

The Syrian embassy fired off a statement on Thursday denying the reports.

“The government of Syria categorically
denies the recent spurious allegations emanating from Israel regarding the
supply of Scud missiles to Hezbollah,” the statement said. “This disinformation campaign aims at
misleading the world’s public opinion.”

Later Sunday on Fox News, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) echoed McCain’s lack of surprise at the Gates report. “For those of us who have been watching this administration, it’s not astonishing at all,” the ranking member of the Select Committee on Intelligence said.

Hoekstra stressed the need to put pressure on Russia and China to come on board with sanctions, but said he felt President Barack Obama is “going to continue muddling along through the process.”

This story was updated at 1:40 p.m.

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