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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Iranian Sanctions

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

BLITZER: Vali, hold on for a moment. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, is joining us on the phone right now. You have been skeptical all along. What is your reaction, Senator?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA (via phone): I really don't know, Wolf. If they -- my first question is, are they required to dismantle any centrifuges? The question really for the world is will Iran under this deal have to basically dismantle their capability to enrich uranium in a serious way? Halting the enrichment is one thing. Dismantling the program is another.

BLITZER: What we heard from the president, Senator, is that the next generation of centrifuges would be halted. There would be a halting of some of the enrichment. They would roll back several parts of the current nuclear program -- at least during the six-month interim period, a testing period on both sides to see if they can reach a broader agreement over these six months. Anything wrong with that?

GRAHAM: Well, the question is, will they have the right to enrich? I mean, do you know if they're going to have the right to enrich uranium at the end of the day?

BLITZER: Well, the Iranians say they do have that right. The U.S. has been saying that right doesn't take place. But the president did they will halt -- it was unclear to me, all enrichment or almost - most of the enrichment. But there would be some sort of halt of the enrichment program in Iran, Senator. I think we are going to get some more details in the next hour or so. But these are legitimates questions.

GRAHAM: Sure. The difference between halting what you have and dismantling what you have is significant. They have enough advanced centrifuges without adding more to take 3.5 percent uranium to 90 percent in a matter of months. So, if all we have done is left in place what they've got and it hasn't been rolled back or dismantled significantly, you still have the capability to enrich to weapons grade. And the question is, should they be allowed to enrich given their behavior at all? I don't know the answer to that basic question.

BLITZER: Very quickly, the president made an appeal to Congress. Don't impose additional sanctions during this interim agreement because that will undermine the whole thing. Are you ready to heed his advice?

GRAHAM: I think you will see the Congress impose additional sanctions that won't take place for six months with some conditions. If Iran meets certain conditions, they will never go into effect at all. But you will see the Congress have new sanctions that will be delayed for six months. But we will define what success will look like before the sanctions can be waived in the future. So, the Congress is going to be focusing on the outcome.

BLITZER: All right, Senator Graham, thanks very much.

Secretary Kerry is now speaking to reporters in Geneva.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

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