Biden slams Trump’s Iran strategy as a ‘self-inflicted disaster’ – POLITICO

Joe Biden

Joe Biden renewed his criticism of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. | Alex Wong/Getty Images


2020 Elections

06/20/2019 08:49 AM EDT

Updated 06/20/2019 02:58 PM EDT


Former Vice President Joe Biden weighed in Thursday on the rapidly escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, charging that President Donald Trump has upped the odds of a military confrontation by “walking away from diplomacy” with Tehran.

“President Trump’s Iran strategy is a self-inflicted disaster,” Biden, a Democratic 2020 White House contender, said in a statement.

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“Two of America’s vital interests in the Middle East are preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and securing a stable energy supply through the Strait of Hormuz,” he said. “Trump is failing on both counts.”

The remarks from Biden came hours after Iran’s military claimed responsibility for shooting down an American drone, which it claimed violated Iranian airspace. The U.S. military’s Central Command has asserted that the unmanned aircraft was destroyed in “an unprovoked attack” over international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz.

Biden’s statement also followed an announcement Monday from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization that the Islamic Republic would breach within the next 10 days the uranium stockpile limits established by a 2015 multinational nuclear deal.

Biden on Thursday renewed his criticisms of Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of that pact, brokered under former President Barack Obama’s administration, asserting that Tehran has “only gotten more aggressive” since Trump “unilaterally withdrew from the hard-won nuclear agreement that the Obama-Biden Administration negotiated.”

“Trump also promised that walking away would somehow lead to a better deal — instead, the predictable has happened: Iran is building back up its nuclear capability,” Biden said. “It’s sadly ironic that the State Department is now calling on Iran to abide by the very deal the Trump administration abandoned.”

He added: “By walking away from diplomacy, Trump has made military conflict more likely. Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need.”

Trump’s re-election campaign hit back at Biden in a tweet later Thursday, writing: “Iran shoots down an American drone in international airspace, and Joe Biden’s response is to attack President Trump?”

“What is his solution?” the “Official Trump War Room” account posted. “Send Iran more pallets of cash? Let Iran take more U.S. sailors hostage? More coddling?”

Officials in Washington and Tehran have steadily ramped up the brinkmanship between their two nations in recent days, with the Pentagon announcing Monday the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East in response to attacks on two oil tankers last week in the Gulf of Oman.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Trump administration officials have blamed Tehran for the tanker explosions, and a U.S. Navy official said Wednesday that a limpet mine used in the attack on one of the tankers bore a striking resemblance to similar Iranian weapons.

Both the Iranian and U.S. governments have publicly expressed their preference to avoid an armed conflict. On Wednesday, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said “there will not be a military confrontation,” while Pompeo tweeted that Trump “does not want war with Iran.”

But Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, stressed Thursday that Tehran was prepared for such an outcome, according to The Associated Press, saying in a televised address: “We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war.”

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