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Biden: Trump strikes risk ISIS regeneration, direct conflict with Iran

Former Vice President Joe Biden warned on Friday that a U.S. airstrike ordered by President Trump that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq had put the country at risk of a direct conflict with Tehran.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Dubuque, Iowa, Biden also warned that the ongoing instability in the Middle East and increasingly aggressive exchanges between the U.S. and Iran raised the possibility of a resurgence of the terrorist group ISIS. 

“The threat to American lives and interests in the region and around the world are enormous,” Biden said. “The risk of nuclear proliferation is real and the possibility that ISIS will regenerate in the region has increased. And the prospect of direct conflict with Iran is greater than it has ever been.”

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Trump announced on Friday that he had ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. U.S. officials have said that Soleimani was preparing attacks on American targets before he was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Thursday.

The strike infuriated Iranian officials, who vowed a “harsh revenge” for Soleimani’s death, prompting concern that it could provoke a wider conflict with Iran. 

Trump withdrew the U.S. last year from a comprehensive deal with Tehran intended to limit its nuclear program. 

Biden questioned on Friday whether Trump had planned for the fallout of Soleimani’s death, predicting that Iran would respond aggressively to the drone strike.

“The question is, does Donald Trump and his administration have a strategy for what comes next?” Biden asked. “Have they thought through and planned for a wide range of retaliatory and asymmetric actions that we’ll almost certainly see from Iran in the near term?”

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