Tallying Up Lies and Exaggerations in Trump’s Iran Address

Tallying Up Lies and Exaggerations in Trump’s Iran Address January 9, 2020

The New York Times did a fact check on Trump’s brief address about the Iranian missile strike on American military bases in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, and as I noted in my post about it, it was chock full of lies and exaggerations. I’ll put just a few of the most blatant ones here for your entertainment and edification.


“The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.”

This lacks evidence. The White House did not respond when asked to substantiate this claim, and experts noted there was no proof that Iranian assets unfrozen by the deal paid for the missiles.

“There’s a certain fungibility here,” Mr. Walsh said. If the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, “took a dollar on the street, did that fund the missile attack?” he added. “That’s not very useful from an analytical perspective. Nor is the case that giving them money caused them to attack the U.S.”

“We have no indication,” Mr. Cordesman said, “whether these missiles are funded by the money from the J.C.P.O.A.”

The director of national intelligence’s annual report on worldwide threats in 2019 did note that Iran continued to develop and improve military capabilities including ballistic missiles, but it did not tie those efforts to the nuclear deal. Furthermore, the annual reports warned of the same efforts in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and before.

This is a follow up to the previous lie that Obama gave Iran $150 billion as part of the Iran nuclear agreement. In fact, we returned their own money to them, which was frozen after they took Americans hostage at our embassy in Teheran. That has been very publicly debunked manytimes, but nothing ever stops Trump from repeating a convenient lie.


“The very defective J.C.P.O.A. expires shortly anyway and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.”

This is exaggerated. The major provisions limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities last a decade or longer. And the agreement increased the “breakout” period — the time it would take Iran to produce enough fuel for one weapon — to at least a year from an estimated two to three months. If the deal had been left in place and fully adhered to, Iran would not have been able to achieve nuclear breakout until 2030.

The agreement also prohibits Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons permanently. “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons,” the first paragraph of the deal reads.

Again, every argument Trump has made against the nuclear deal has been shown to be false, but Trump continues to repeat them because they help him politically. The truth could not possibly be less of a concern to him. If it suits his agenda, he uses it, truth be damned. You can find many other examples at the link above.

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