South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the wave of protests in Iran are example of President Barack Obama’s failed policies for the country and the region.
“The people are not getting the benefit of sanctions relief,” the Republican senator told Major Garrett on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “They are more upset with their oppressors than ever, the money from sanctions relief is going to rebuilding the Iranian military and is destabilizing the Middle East.”
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Graham, who is regarded as a foreign policy hawk, said he would advise President Donald Trump to do the opposite of his predecessor in addressing protests in Iran. As a first step, the three-term senator called on Trump to give a public address on why the Iran nuclear deal has “failed” and to lay out what a better deal would look like.
In 2009, Obama condemned “unjust actions” as Iranian leaders thwarted an uprising known as “Green Revolution” after a disputed presidential election. While Obama gave increasingly harsher critiques of how protesters were treated, his administration was criticized for not being more forceful and direct.
Since Thursday, Iranians have protested throughout the country due to frustration with a sluggish economy.
“If I was Trump, I would do the exact opposite of Obama,” Graham said. “Obama said, I don’t want to get involved, I don’t want to mess up the chance of a deal with Iran. Well, the deal with Iran has not worked.”
Trump could the end U.S. involvement in the nuclear agreement as soon as next month. But before making such a move, Graham called on Trump to urge Congress and America’s European allies to renegotiate the deal. In the past, the European Union and the other major countries behind the deal have said they would not revisit the accord and that they consider it binding.
“The Iranian people are not our enemy,” Graham said. “The Ayatollah is the enemy of the world.”