On Friday, Trump acknowledged that he had ordered a halt to a planned strike on three Iranian military sites that would have killed 150 people, reasoning that the death toll was disproportionate to Iran’s shooting down of an unmanned drone earlier last week over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran argues the drone had crossed into Iranian airspace, a claim Washington denies.
“Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons; its threats to exceed the limits set in the failed nuclear deal in the coming days; its continuing buildup of menacing Quds Force capabilities in Syria and Iraq; its supply of sophisticated drones, missiles and other advanced weapons to hostile surrogate forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Afghanistan; and continued threat and acts of aggression against Israel, our allies in the Arabian Gulf and against US personal and assets across the Middle East, are not signs of a nation seeking peace.”
The prime minister went on to argue that Iran has increased its regional aggression ever since the 2015 nuclear deal, which brought the regime sanctions relief and substantial cash payments.
“The supporters of the Iran deal argued that the infusion of massive cash into Iran’s economy would moderate Iran. They argued that Iran would become inward-focused, would start nation-building. And in fact, the very opposite is happening,” he said.
“Iran used those hundreds of billions of dollars to fund empire building, not nation building,” he continued, warning that the Islamic Republic is “devouring one state after the other.”
Israel sees Iran’s aggression in its increased effort to establish military bases in Syria and and to provide sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and other proxies, the prime minister said.