President Donald Trump didn't miss an opportunity to take a shot at Democrats in his Wednesday address to the nation following Iran's missile strike on US-occupied bases in Iraq on Tuesday night.
The president repeatedly disparaged the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama's administration and China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK, which Trump controversially abandoned in 2018.
But then Trump went further, questionably claiming the 2015 deal “paid for” more than 20 missiles Iran fired at Iraqi bases in retaliation for the US's assassination of the country's top military general last week.
“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,” Trump said, mistakenly saying the deal was signed in 2013.
Politifact rated a similar claim made in a viral Facebook post (that “Iran will be shooting at our soldiers with bullets, etc., purchased with the $150 billion Obama gave them”) “mostly false.”
Trump's claim that Iran was “given” $150 billion is misleading. As part of the nuclear deal, Iran regained access to an estimated $56 billion worth of frozen assets the country already owned. The $150 billion number is exaggerated — the US Treasury Department estimated in 2015 that the assets worth $56 billion at the most.
Notably, it is unclear what Iran has used its unfrozen funds for, and former Secretary of State John Kerry said in 2016 that some of the funds would likely end up in the hands of terrorist organizations run or bankrolled by the Iranians.
Trump offered no evidence to support his claim that the unfrozen assets were used to fund Iran's military.
Susan Rice, Obama's former national security adviser, slammed Trump's remark.
“This is another series of despicable lies by President Trump,” she told CNN. “The fact that three years after taking office he remains obsessed with President Obama shows [his] extreme weakness and insecurity.”
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