Graham calls Iran 'the cancer of the Middle East'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamUS defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Lawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation MORE (R-S.C.) called Iran “the cancer of the Middle East,” while saying he was glad one of the country's top military leaders Gen. Qassem Soleimani was dead. 

Graham defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE’s decision to attack and kill Soleimani on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” Sunday, calling Soleimani an “evil man” and “terrorist leader” with “American blood on his hands.”

"I can assure the American people that he died not because of the color of his skin or because of his ethnic origins, he died because of the content of his character,” he said. 

“I’m glad he’s dead and I’m glad we finally got a president who understands Iran is the cancer of the Middle East and they must change the status quo.” Graham told Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoKudlow: New tax cuts will 'probably come out sometime in September' Bannon says Democrats won't stop effort to impeach Trump Trump asks 'what the hell has happened' to Fox News after interview with Democratic senator MORE.

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The Republican senator said the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran is working. But he also called on the president to lay out what the U.S. wants from Iran, including ending the sponsoring of terrorism, stopping the dismembering of the Middle East, putting an end to building rockets and missiles and stopping “being so provocative.” 

The past two weeks have been tumultuous between the U.S. and Iran, starting with an attack by an Iranian-backed militia that killed a U.S. citizen. The U.S. responded with a strike on the militia in Iraq, prompting supporters of the militia to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

These attacks were followed by a strike at the Baghdad airport that resulted in the death of Soleimani, one of the country’s most powerful generals. Iran has reacted to the killing by threatening retaliation, leading to Trump tweeting the U.S. will attack 52 sites if there is any retaliation.