Boom. President Trump put former President Barack Obama on blast when he addressed the nation at the retaliation missile strikes from Iran.
Trump accused Obama of funding the very missiles that were being aimed at American troops in Iraq. He said that Obama gave Iran money in 2016, which was then used by Tehran to pay for the missiles.
“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” the president said.
Trump addressed the nation the morning after the Iranian regime launched more than a dozen missiles at bases in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. That was in retaliation for the U.S. strike last week that took out top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
In his remarks, he pointed the finger at the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018. While supporters of the deal claimed it kept Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Trump on Wednesday renewed his assertion that it emboldened Tehran.
“Iran's hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash,” he continued. “Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted 'Death to America.'”
Trump added that Iran used that money to go on a “terrorist spree” that “created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq.”
It’s unclear exactly how the missiles used in the attacks were funded. But other Republicans have connected the Iran settlement money to the attacks, with GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz saying on Fox News' "Hannity" on Tuesday night, “In a very real sense, the missiles that we saw fired at U.S. servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions that the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with."
The cash payment of $1.7 billion, a settlement of a decades-old disputebetween the U.S. and Iran -- was paid in cash, with a planeload of $400 million delivered to Tehran on Jan. 17 2016, the same day Iran agreed to release four American prisoners. A remaining $1.3 billion was reportedly paid out within weeks of that first payment.
The $150 billion, meanwhile, refers to the estimated value of Iranian assets that had been frozen abroad in financial institutions as part of international sanctions. That money was unfrozen by all countries as part of the Iran deal. Some fact checkers have disputed that the value is as high as $150 billion, citing Treasury estimates that it could be around $55 billion in liquid assets.
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