Iran isn't serious about nuclear negotiations with the United States, or it wouldn't have named a man to be its U.N. ambassador who was associated with the group that took Americans hostage in 1979, says Sen. Lindsey Graham.
"I think it's offensive to the hostages. It's offensive to us as Americans for the Iranians to even propose this," Graham said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
The White House denied a visa to Hamid Abutalebi
last week, causing Iran to call the United States "dangerous."
But Graham said the Obama administration was right to do so because it would have set a precedent that people could break the law and be rewarded for it.
Abutalebi says he was not a hostage-taker and served only as a translator during negotiations during the standoff. Still, those who were held for 444 days
have demanded he not be allowed onto U.S. soil.
Many see the nomination as a swipe by Iran at the United States
just as the two countries are negotiating over the right of Iran to enrich uranium.
Oil-rich Iran says it needs a nuclear program only to produce nuclear power, but critics in the West suspect it wants to build nuclear weapons.
Graham said the U.N. move shows the insincerity of Iran on reaching a resolution.
"This really tells you all you need to know about this Iranian regime: they're a bunch of thugs," he said.
The negotiations are likely to continue, he said. But he warned that President Barack Obama is on the verge of giving Iran the right to enrich uranium. To do so, he said, would be to repeat the same mistake the United States made with North Korea, which today is a nuclear power.
"If the Iranians get a nuclear capability, Sunni Arabs are going to want one of their own," Graham said, "and you're on the road to Armageddon."
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