US Senator Lindsey Graham compared the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Nazis on Tuesday evening, as tensions between Tehran and Washington remained high in the wake of a series of strikes and counter-strikes that some worried could bring the two nations to the brink of war.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Graham, a close ally of US President Donald Trump, warned that Americans must “never lose sight that we are dealing with religious Nazis.”
“They really mean it when they want to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews and they’ve been disrupting the Mideast for 40 years,” he declared. “It needs to stop.”
Iran supports proxy forces across the region, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, both of which have come into repeated conflict with Israel and fired thousands of rockets into it’s territory over the years. Iran has also been linked to terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad such as the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish community center.
Graham also backed Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the architect of its regional security strategy, in Iraq last week despite a New York Times report that the intelligence used to justify the attack — which was seen across the region as a significant escalation in the proxy conflict between Washington and Tehran — was thin.
Both sides appeared to step back from further escalation on Wednesday after Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases housing American troops in Iraq without causing any casualties. Iran said the attack was retaliation for the US strike that killed Soleimani.
Graham called the Iranian strike an “act of war.”
In addition to launching the missile attack, Iran also abandoned its remaining commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump had walked away from in May 2018. But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that Tehran would continue to cooperate with UN inspectors.
On Wednesday, Trump signaled that he would not retaliate militarily for the strike on the bases. That raised hopes that the current standoff, which brought the two countries close to an all-out war, may be winding down.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has defended the Trump administration’s decision to eliminate Soleimani, stating that there was danger of an imminent attack against Americans.