In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper examines several claims from President Donald Trump’s remarks after an Iranian missile attack on military bases in Iraq housing U.S. coalition forces.
Trump distorted the facts when he claimed the Iran nuclear deal that he withdrew from “expires in a short time.” The deal, which was implemented in 2016, limits enriched uranium for 15 years, and requires monitoring of Iranian facilities in some cases for as long as 25 years.
Trump also was wrong when he claimed that as a part of the deal, Iran was “given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash.” Trump frequently distorts this point, but as we explained once again last year, the deal unfroze some of Iran’s assets that were held largely in foreign banks due to U.S. sanctions. A Treasury Department official in 2015 testified that that would allow Iran to access about $50 billion in “usable liquid assets.”
The $1.8 billion in cash that Trump mentioned is from an unrelated settlement reached by the Obama administration to resolve a dispute that dates to 1979, when Iran paid the U.S. $400 million for military equipment it never received. The U.S. agreed in 2016 to repay Iran that sum, with interest, for a total of $1.7 billion.
Finally, Trump made the dubious claim that “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.” Experts told us that prior to the nuclear deal, Iran already possessed many of the type of missiles used in the retaliatory attack. A researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies told us he had “strong doubts” that Iran’s missile development — which has long been a high priority for the country’s supreme leader — was “affected too much by budget fluctuations.”
For a more detailed analysis of these claims and others made by Trump in his address to the nation, read our story “FactChecking Trump’s Iran Address.” Previous fact-checking videos done in collaboration with CNN’s “State of the Union” can also be found on our website.