On Wednesday, the top Republican lawmaker explained his concerns with the president’s newly-announced additional sanctions on the Islamic Republic, with Graham warning that they “fall short” while speaking to reporters.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase sanctions” on Iran.
I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Graham said that the “maximum pressure campaign” by Trump against Iran “has worked” in the way that the Middle Eastern country’s economy has been “crippled” but “has not changed their behavior.”
The South Carolina senator added that he believes something “beyond sanctions” would need to be done to deter Iran’s “provocative behavior.”
“The only conclusion I think you can reach is that the Iranians, while having been hurt by the maximum pressure campaign, have not been deterred in terms of their provocative behavior. And it’s going to take something, I think, beyond sanctions to achieve that deterrence.”
Graham was pressed on whether or not he believed the president’s plan to increase sanctions would work well, to which he replied that he believes “that additional sanctions will fall short.”
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said that “not acting sends a message” that may push the Islamic Republic to keep up their behavior as they could “feel they can make this kind of action without a response.”
The Wyoming congresswoman also praised the Trump administration for beginning “some of that response” by imposing the new sanctions, but also said that she believes that a “proportional military response” would be the best option against the Iranian regime.
“I also think that a proportional military response is the right way to go, and I’m hopeful that Secretary [Mike] Pompeo is coordinating in that regard with the Saudis,” said Cheney. She also threw her support behind additional sanctions through the United Nations.
Both Cheney and Graham’s foreign policy stances are viewed as hawkish while Trump has been less keen on conflicts.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated for clarity after publication.