Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser during the Obama administration, fired back Wednesday at President Trump for accusing President Obama of providing Iran with funds that were ultimately used to launch missiles at U.S. personnel in Iraq.
Rice dismissed Trump’s claims that the U.S. gave Iran $150 billion in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, noting that the funds were in fact Iranian money that was frozen as a result of the deal.
“This is another series of despicable lies by President Trump,” Rice said on MSNBC. “The fact that … three years after taking office he remains obsessed with President Obama just shows President Trump’s extreme weakness and insecurity.”
Trump spent much of his address to the nation late Wednesday morning hammering the Obama administration for its policies toward Iran, saying it was to blame for current escalating tensions.
“Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013,” Trump said, though the deal was actually signed in 2015.
Rice disputed Trump’s assertions, noting that Tehran’s nuclear program was held in check in the immediate aftermath of the deal’s signing and that no significant escalations on other fronts were seen from Iran.
“The facts about the Iran nuclear deal are that it effectively halted and rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. 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. There were no efforts by Iran to attack our drones in the Persian Gulf or attack shipping,” she said.
“Everybody, including the American intelligence community, validated that it was being upheld and our forces and our presence in the region was secure. President Trump decided, recklessly, to withdraw unilaterally from the nuclear deal and 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, a very dangerous moment.”
Rice’s rebuke comes as the Middle East endures the aftermath of a U.S. strike last week that killed Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general. Tehran said Wednesday morning local time it launched a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in response to the killing, though no Americans or Iraqis were killed.
Iran also announced that it would roll back commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal over the killing, and Iraq voted to expel U.S. troops, which have had to pause their campaign against ISIS to bolster their defenses against possible Iranian retaliations.