‘The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, defended her old boss from recent criticism for sending billions of dollars to Iran in a 2015 nuclear deal.
Rice was best known during her tenure with the Obama administration for crafting the debunked talking points that a 2012 siege on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was the result of a Youtube video.
She likewise deflected any culpability for the latest spate of radical Islamic aggression, instead pinning it squarely on President Donald Trump’s shoulders.
“President Trump decided recklessly to withdraw unilaterally from the nuclear deal and to impose so-called ‘maximum pressure’—crippling sanctions—and it was in the wake of that that we found ourselves in this escalatory cycle that’s led to where we are today,” she said.
Critics of the deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, noted that there were no verification or enforcement mechanisms in it to ensure that the rogue Iranian regime was acting in good faith and upholding its end of the bargain by dismantling its centrifuges used for uranium enrichment.
Israeli intelligence offered evidence that Iran, no longer subject to the sanctions and international pressure it had faced previously, was continuing to aggressively pursue nuclear-weapons capabilities in secret, prompting Trump to announce the withdrawal in May 2018.
But Rice accused Trump of undoing the good that Obama had accomplished in the region.
“In the years since the signing of the deal in 2015, up until President Trump’s unilateral withdrawal abandoning our allies against the advice of his advisers, there were no proxy attacks by Iranian proxies on U.S. personnel in Iraq,” Rice told MSNBC. “There were no efforts by Iran to attack our drones in the Persian Gulf or attack shipping.”
Tensions have since mounted after recent attacks on U.S. bases and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad resulted in the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who had flown to the Iraqi capital to offer tactical support for Iran-funded militia groups.
Iran launched missiles at a U.S. base in Iraq late Tuesday in retaliation, but Trump reported that the base sustained no casualties and minimal damage.
In a public statement Wednesday, Trump announced the U.S. would impose a new round of sanctions on Iran in response to the regime’s missile attacks, and he pinned the responsibility for them on Obama.
“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 charged that the Iranians were using $250 billion in unfrozen assets and hard cash—some delivered in pallets of American dollars to the country—to fund its ongoing terrorist operations against American allies and interests in the Middle East.
“Instead of saying ‘thank you’ to the United States, they chanted ‘death to America,’” Trump said.
“In fact, they chanted ‘death to America’ the day the agreement was signed,” he continued. “Then Iran went on a terror spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq.”
The Obama administration admitted in 2016 that as part of the Iran nuclear deal it had transferred $1.7 billion to Iran “entirely in cash.”
The administration also officially released tens of billions in frozen Iranian funds, which was reported to be around $56 billion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Trump has cited the $250 billion estimate before but has not offered an accounting for the discrepancy in his figure and that which was officially reported.
Rice, who has previously attacked Trump’s foreign policy as “bats**t crazy,” claimed that Trump’s comments were “another series of despicable lies,” and said that Trump is “obsessed with President Obama” because of his “extreme weakness and insecurity.”
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.