Iran is getting most of the benefits from the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, but remains as the largest state supporter of terrorism, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday.
"They have most of the money or are in the process of getting most of the money," Graham told NBC's "Today." "You look at the deal when it was signed until now, they've not gotten better. They've gotten worse."
The Trump administration notified Congress on Tuesday that Iran is complying with the deal, and the United States has extended sanctions relief in exchange for curbs the country has made on its atomic program. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, though, has sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., saying the administration has undertaken a full review on the agreement to evaluate if it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States."
Graham told "Today" that Iran continues to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and it helps Hezbollah.
"I would put sanctions on the regime for violating the United Nations' resolution on missile tests, humiliating our sailors and being a state sponsor of terrorism," Graham said.
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The senator also commented about the news the USS Carl Vinson and its strike group were sailing away from North Korea and not toward it.
Graham said he does believe the Trump administration is "headed in the right direction" on North Korea, but the United States is on a "collision course" with the country.
Vice President Mike Pence went to the demilitarized zone and looked across the border to tell North Korea, "We're not going to allow you to send a missile to our homeland," Graham said.
"I talked to the president about this topic. I said, 'Do you want on your resume that during your presidency that North Koreans could hit the American peninsula with a nuclear well on top of it?' He said, 'Absolutely not.'"
Graham said he suggested to Trump he tell China "if they don't take care of it, we will. If China can't stop the regime from building a missile that can hit the American homeland, we would do everything, including diplomatic sanctions and military strike to stop the missile program."
Twenty years ago, he continued, North Korea did not have nuclear weapons, but "every Republican and every Democrat has screwed up on North Korea. They're close to getting a missile to hit the homeland. Now is the time to stop [them]."
That would include, he said, a preemptive strike if that is what it would take.
"It would be terrible," Graham said. "It would be bad for the Korean peninsula, bad for China, bad for Japan, bad for South Korea. It would be the end of North Korea. But it would not hit America. The only way it would come to America is with a missile. And we're not going to let that happen, I hope."
Graham, on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," lauded Trump's response to North Korea.
"I'm, like, the happiest dude in America right now," the South Carolina senator said. "We have got a president and a national security team that I have been dreaming of for eight years. So, in 80 days, he has done more to correct the world, President Trump, than Obama did in eight years."
Graham continued it was "music to my ears" the Trump administration has given Iran notice for being a state sponsor of terror.
"Iran is running through the Middle East," Graham said. "They are toppling every government they can get their hands on. North Korea, if I were Kim Jong Un, whatever his name is, I would listen to Mike Pence . . . if I were North Korea and China, I would start thinking anew about the president of the United States.
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