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Analysis U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is visiting Iowa with other Republicans who are considering a presidential run in the 2016 election. 3/7/2015 Photo by John Pemble

Published on September 10th, 2015 | by Eli Clifton


Lindsey Graham Blames Iran For 9/11 Attacks

by Eli Clifton

Over the past week, Republican opposition to the Iran deal has devolved considerably. Senate Republicans spent the week in chaos, raising uncertainty about whether their measure of disapproval would even reach a key procedural vote (Senators agreed to a cloture vote at 3:45pm today), holding a rally with notorious Islamophobe and birther Frank Gaffney and, in a bizarre lack of self-awareness, trotting out former Vice President Dick Cheney for a speech opposing the deal at the American Enterprise Institute, the same institution where neoconservatives met for their “black coffee briefings” to plan how to win the “war of Ideas” after 9/11 and the de-Baathification of Iraq.

Much media attention from that event focused on Patrick Clawson, research director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, attempting to violently grab a demonstrator’s banner. The banner read “Cheney Wrong On Iraq Wrong on Iran,” a reference to Cheney’s certainty about the existence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and the former VP’s reemergence as a prominent opponent of diplomacy with Iran.

That apparent obliviousness to the past, particularly by those who advocated for the invasion of Iraq over a decade ago, was in the spotlight again today. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took to the floor of the Senate to decry the nuclear deal with Iran as a betrayal of Israel, “damning the Middle East to holy hell” and explaining why the Ayatollah isn’t celebrating by “dancing in the street”: “He just doesn’t believe in dancing.”

Graham is a high-profile hawk and, along with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), one of the Republican party’s most outspoken and influential foreign policy voices. So what he said next is truly surprising: Graham appeared to blame the 9/11 attacks on Iran:

I have no idea why you believe the Ayatollah doesn’t mean what he says, given they way he’s behaved. If they will shoot their own children down in the streets to keep power, what do you think they’ll do to ours? And the only reason three thousand people died on 9/11 is they couldn’t get the weapons to kill three million of us and they’re on course to do it now.

The 9/11 Report looked at the possibility of Iranian involvement and concluded that while some of the hijackers transited through Iran:

We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack. At the time of their travel through Iran, the al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation.

If Lindsey Graham has some new evidence, he should probably share it with the public. On the other hand, taking the most hawkish anti-Iran positions, even at the expense of the truth, might be a political ploy. Graham’s presidential campaign is a total flop (he’s currently polling around 0 percent). He reportedly speaks frequently with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson and, in April, after a glass of wine, claimed he was a favorite of pro-Israel donors. The desperate bid to link Iran to 9/11 may be just the type of thing a donor like Adelson—who wants to drop nuclear bombs on Iran—might respond to by infusing the Senator’s campaign with some cash.

Graham may have to make increasingly outlandish statements if he hopes to garner any media attention, resuscitate his dying presidential campaign and maintain his access to anti-Iran deal GOP donors. With no accountability for the lies that led to the Iraq war, the strategy looks unlikely to have a downside.

About the Author


Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

16 Responses to Lindsey Graham Blames Iran For 9/11 Attacks

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  1. avatar James Canning says:

    Lindsey Graham is a calculating liar, smearing Iran and acting the fool.

  2. avatar ronmac says:

    No surprise. After all the US and al Qaeda are now allies in Syria.

    ps. little birds are whispering is Graham is gunning for the job as Sec of State in 2017

  3. avatar Monty Ahwazi says:

    Lindsey Graham, you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts! Sad to see that you do anything for money! Isn’t it the old definition of “politistution”?

  4. avatar Elaine says:

    Mr Graham, I know you love your family so please oppose the Iran deal. Our children, grandchildren, & great grandchildren or at risk against these American haters. Why are we giving them all this money. They have killed and wounded our service men and women. You and Mr Bohner together should stand up against this evil plan. Thank you for your time.

  5. The Graham Cracker is distinguishing himself. I now have another candidate about whom I can say “In the declining America of neocons, most of whom are Jewish Zionists and Israel-firsters, and their demented agenda, America deserves the Cracker.” Prior to this, my candidate was Donald Trump: America deserves him. Now, a match made somewhere in a place other than the founding documents and ideals of America might just be a double-down ticket of Trump and Graham Cracker; they would lead America to real ruin, and America deserves ruin.

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