In his first press statements following Iran’s missile attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, President Donald Trump said his predecessor, President Barack Obama, is to blame for giving Iran the money it used to purchase its weapons.
Trump said money the U.S. paid to Iran in 2015 as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was used by Iran to sponsor terrorism throughout the Middle East. He said Iran also used that money to acquire the weapons used in Tuesday’s missile attack.
Trump’s remarks were part of his address following the attack. His comments about the Iran deal and suggestion it enabled Tuesday’s missile attack begins around 45:03 in the video below:
“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump said.
Trump said that Iranians chanted “death to America” on the day the Iran nuclear deal was signed and “went on a terror spree” in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also said the Iranian internal governance had become more authoritarian, resulting in the killing of some 1,500 of its own people.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, made similar critical remarks against the Obama administration during a television appearance Tuesday night with Fox’s Sean Hannity.
“They literally flew $1.7 billion in cash, in unmarked bills, on pallets in the dead of night into Iran,” Cruz said. “The missiles that we saw fired on servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with.”
They literally flew $1.7 billion in cash, in unmarked bills, on pallets in the dead of night into Iran.
The missiles that we saw fired on servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 8, 2020
Democratic critics of Donald Trump have instead suggested the recent escalations with Iran are a result of provocations by Trump.
Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020
Last week, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, called the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani an “assassination.”
Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question.
The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 3, 2020
Earlier in his remarks, Trump said the strike against Soleimani was behind the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Iraq and “he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him.”
Trump also said, “Soleimani’s hands were drenched in American and Iranian blood.”
In his continued remarks, Trump said the Iran nuclear deal is set to expire soon and would give Iran a “clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.”
He said Iran must end its support for terrorism and called on countries that have remained in the nuclear deal to end the agreement and come together with the U.S. to negotiate a new deal with Iran.
In his vision of that hypothetical new deal, Trump said he wants Iran to end its ties to terror in the region and “have a great future” with peaceful relations towards other countries.