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Graham Plans to Block U.S. Money to the IAEA Over Iran ‘Side Deals’


Graham holds a town hall meeting on the Iran nuclear agreement in Greenville on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Graham holds a town hall meeting on the Iran nuclear agreement in Greenville on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call on the Road logo GREENVILLE, S.C. — Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday he’s going to use all the leverage he has to get access to additional documents about the international agreement with Iran about the Iranian nuclear program.  

Speaking to a few dozen people at a “No Nukes for Iran” town hall meeting in his home state, Graham also said Monday that he plans to block the transfer of $88 million in U.S. funds to the International Atomic Energy Agency until Congress gets access to so-called “side agreements” related to the Iranian nuclear agreement.  

Graham has power in this situation because of his role as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.  

“I’m not for a side deal that I can’t look at,” said Graham.”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?”  

Graham said that without the military facilities being subject to inspection, it would be impossible to determine the prospect of development.  

“So, this deal is between the IAEA and Iran. It’s a secret deal between the two parties that limits inspections of their 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.”  

As for last week’s announcement that Sen. Charles E. Schumer would vote against the deal , Graham praised his longtime Senate colleague.  

“The fact that he announced his no vote this early makes me believe that he’s not playing politics,” Graham said. “We’ve got 30 days to engage with other members of the House and the Senate. So, Sen. Schumer and I have worked well together, he’s very pro-Israel, and time will tell as to whether or not we can get enough votes.”  

As for the message of his long shot presidential effort and why he’s going around the country (including his home state) holding Iran town halls, Graham summed it up thusly: “I don’t mean to scare you, but I am trying to inform you that things are not going well.” Graham said.

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