US Senators McCain, Graham: Cannot imagine worse signal to send to Iran
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US Senators McCain, Graham: Cannot imagine worse signal to send to Iran

Leading Republican figures denounce deal on Syria, say Obama administration being led into ‘blind alley’ by Assad and Putin

US Senator John McCain, left, talks with Senator Lindsey Graham on Capitol Hill in Washington in July .(photo credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
US Senator John McCain, left, talks with Senator Lindsey Graham on Capitol Hill in Washington in July .(photo credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Leading Republican figures US Senators John McCain (R – AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R – SC) slammed the US-Russian-brokered deal reached Saturday on Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, calling it an “act of provocative weakness on America’s part.”

The US and Russia reached an agreement Saturday on a framework to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by the mid-2014 and impose UN penalties if the Assad government fails to comply.

In a joint statement Saturday mere hours after the deal was announced, the senators said the framework was “meaningless” and added that they “cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon.”

“Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein’s playbook. It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin,” they wrote.

The senators further denounced the agreement, saying it does nothing to resolve the underlying conflict. and calling it “morally and strategically indefensible.”

“Is the message of this agreement that Assad is now our negotiating partner, and that he can go on slaughtering innocent civilians and destabilizing the Middle East using every tool of warfare, so long as he does not use chemical weapons? That is morally and strategically indefensible,” their statement read.

McCain and Graham charged that the US must increase support for the moderate Syrian opposition.

“We must strengthen their ability to degrade Assad’s military advantage, change the momentum on the battlefield, and thereby create real conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict.”

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