Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are set to introduce legislation threatening to strike Iran if the country expands the conflict in the Middle East.
The two senators are backing the non-binding resolution as the Iranian-backed militia group Hezbollah has raised tensions on the Israel border in Lebanon and attacked U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon recently sent 900 additional troops to the Middle East to combat the Iran-backed militia attacks on U.S. forces.
“Israel is begging us to deter Iran, they don’t want the war to widen,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “If any of our troops are killed in Syria or Iraq by Iranian-backed militias, I think that’s an expansion of the war. So the resolution puts Iran on notice that all this military force in the region will be coming after you if you expand this war by activating Hezbollah or killing an American through your proxies in Syria or Iraq and they need to hear that, they need to believe that.”
“It’s aggressive, but it’s absolutely necessary,” Blumenthal added. “And it’s not only in Israel’s explicit interest, they will support this deterrence and the key word here is deterrence. The purpose of the resolution is to deter Iran. By showing, we’re gonna be behind the president as he seeks to stop the war from widening or escalating.”
Blumenthal said the nations surrounding Israel fear Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamic terrorist groups and will benefit from the resolution. He said Iran is the “toxic malign influence” as the nation has funded and supplied the terrorist groups that allowed for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel to happen. (RELATED: ‘That’s Not True’: John Kirby, Bret Baier Spar Over $6 Billion Iran Deal’s Involvement In Hamas Attack)
Before the brutal attack in Israel, President Joe Biden’s administration struck a deal to transfer $6 billion in previously frozen Iranian assets to Iran in exchange for releasing five American hostages held in the country. Following Hamas’ attack, the U.S. worked with Qatar to block Iran from accessing the $6 billion after a bipartisan call in Congress urged the administration to refreeze the funds.
White House officials acknowledge that Iran funds Hamas, raising questions from the public on whether the $6 billion transfer contributed to the attack in Israel.