US President Donald Trump is being “delusional” about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, says Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, accusing the Republican leader of undermining the international deal out of spite for his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
Trump claimed in a tweet on Wednesday that the Obama administration had paid Iran $150 billion to negotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed between Tehran and six world powers – the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
The businessman-turned-politician left the deal in May, arguing that it didn’t address Washington’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear energy and ballistic missile programs.
“President Trump is delusional and clearly has never read the Iran deal,” Kaine wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
“The Iran deal did not “give” Iran one penny; it released Iran’s own money frozen in bank accounts. It imposed restrictions and inspections on Iran for decades and prohibited the country from ever purchasing, acquiring or developing any nuclear weapons,” he added.
The Virginia senator, who ran against Trump in 2016 as the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, said Trump’s “insecurity” over Obama fueled his decisions.
“President Trump blew the whole Iran deal up—over his own military leaders’ objections, by the way—because of his insecurity over President Obama,” he added, noting that other countries, like Saudi Arabia, were playing Trump’s insecurities “like a cheap fiddle.”
The truth about payments to Iran is that the Obama administration paid $1.7 billion to Iran in 2016 to settle legal disputes over a sale of military equipment to Tehran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iranian officials have already dismissed Trump’s claim that Iran’s frozen assets in overseas banks amounted to around $150 billion.
In total, $29 billion of Iranian cash has been blocked as a result of US sanctions, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced in 2015.
Trump made the fallacious tweet in an effort to convince Democratic lawmakers to support his plans to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Democrats have so far refused to fund the project, prompting Trump to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his way.
Kaine addressed the issue, explaining why he thought Trump wall was a “dumb” idea.