Kerry: Regional Leaders Pressed US To Bomb Iran

WASHINGTON — Former US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned of increased risk of war with Iran after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, saying regional leaders had privately pressed the White House to take military action.

By withdrawing from the historic accord, Trump has “made it more likely that there will be conflict in the region because there are people there who would love to have the United States of America bomb Iran,” Kerry told the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday.

Kerry, a former senator and presidential candidate, played a key role in negotia­tions between Iran, the US and other world powers that led to the signing of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under the accord, Iran undertook to limit its nuclear activities in return for removal of sanctions.

Kerry said that Saudi Arabia’s late king Abdullah and Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak had both told him that the US should attack Iran. Is­raeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also asked then US President Barack Obama for the green light to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, he said.

In May, President Trump pulled the US out of that deal despite warnings from other signatories and pledged to reinstate tough sanctions against Iran.

While UN inspectors had repeatedly declared that Iran was in compliance of the JCPOA, Trump called the deal a disaster for not addressing other issues including Iran’s missile program and its rising influence in the region.

Tensions have increased between the Trump adminis­tration and Kerry, who has criticized the White House’s ap­proach toward Iran as “ill-ad­vised” and based on no “broad strategy.” The former diplomat has also accused Trump of “making things up” about Iran.

Kerry angered Trump in May following reports that he had secretly met with world leaders in a bid to salvage the Iran deal ahead of Trump’s announcement to withdraw from it.

The president has been at loggerheads with Kerry ever since, frequently mocking him on Twitter.

“I see that John Kerry, the father of the now terminated Iran deal, is thinking of running for President,” Trump tweeted last month. “I should only be so lucky — although the field that is currently assembling looks really good — FOR ME!”

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