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Report: Graham plans to block IAEA funding over Iran 'side deals'

Report: Graham plans to block IAEA funding over Iran 'side deals'
© Fox News

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Let's give thanks to Republican defenders of democracy Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts MORE (R-S.C.) said Monday he plans to block funding to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) until Congress gets access to alleged side deals that are related to the Iranian nuclear agreement.

Graham intends to block $88 million in U.S. funds to the IAEA until lawmakers get the documents, according to a Roll Call report confirmed by the senator's presidential campaign. Graham is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees that funding.

The report said the GOP presidential contender issued the threat during a “No Nukes for Iran” town hall meeting in South Carolina Monday.

“I’m not for a side deal that I can’t look at,” Graham said. ”And this is a very clever thing they did. The Iranians opposed anytime, anywhere inspections of their military facilities. We said early on that if you can’t determine the military dimensions of a program, then it’s not a good deal. How do you know if it’s a good deal or not?”

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The GOP senator originally included the $88 million in the bill that would fund the State Department and foreign operations for the next fiscal year. The legislation has hit a dead end, mainly because of a dispute over funding levels.

Graham said the IAEA has a “secret deal” with Iran that “limits inspections of [Iran’s] military facilities.”

“I don’t believe it’s a deal that until I get to look at it, so that’s the problem here,” Graham said. “I betcha dollar if you looked at it, it would be a joke.”

The alleged side deals are part of a roadmap the IAEA and Iran agreed on in mid-July that focuses on Iran’s previous work on attaining a nuclear bomb. Obama administration officials say the side deals are not connected to the Iran nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 — the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia.

Last week, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who is a negotiator in the Iranian nuclear talks, told the Senate Banking Committee that she and her team had only seen rough drafts of the IAEA documents.  

Separately, Graham had previously threatened to block funding for the new U.S. Embassy in Cuba in an effort to undermine the new U.S. policy toward the Communist nation. He never took that action at the committee level.