Former secretary of state John Kerry pushed several false narratives about the Obama administration during his remarks this week before the Democratic National Convention, including the claim that President Obama eliminated the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.
Kerry accused President Donald Trump of abandoning America’s allies and sowing discord across the globe, particularly in the contentious Middle East region. Unmentioned was Trump’s landmark effort to broker peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a move widely seen as significantly boosting regional security.
"For the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, we led by example," Kerry said. "We eliminated the threat of an Iran with a nuclear weapon. We built a 68-nation coalition to destroy ISIS. We forged a 195-nation agreement to attack climate change. We stopped Ebola before it became a pandemic."
Trump, he added, "breaks up with our allies and writes love letters to dictators."
Kerry’s comments, however, do not jibe with the facts, regional experts say. Just days before Kerry touted the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, the United Nations rejected a bid to indefinitely extend an arms ban on Tehran, paving the way for nations such as China and Russia to provide the country with billions in advanced weaponry. Kerry also failed to mention that it was the Trump administration that successfully annihilated key ISIS leaders and brokered agreements with regional nations to combat the terror organization.
Additionally, Iran spent the billions it received as part of the nuclear deal to stockpile advanced ballistic missiles capable of striking Israel and other U.S. allies. This includes the Obama administration's shipment of $400 million in cash to Iran and another $1.7 billion more in assets. U.S. officials have confirmed multiple times in recent years that this money was used by Iran to fund terrorism and sow regional discord.
Trump removed the United States from the nuclear deal and implemented the toughest sanctions on Tehran in history. Through these sanctions, the Trump administration virtually bankrupted Iran and stopped it from engaging in a weapons buying spree. Trump also signed off on the drone strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who played a key role in attacking U.S. military and other American personnel stationed in the region. The strike served as a major blow to Iran’s intervention in Iraq and other countries in the area.
Kerry’s celebration of the Obama administration’s climate accord also is misleading. The accord was widely seen as having no tangible impact and also was abandoned by the Trump administration without much pushback.
"John Kerry always has and always will live inside an alternate universe that exists only in his mind," said Richard Goldberg, a former White House National Security Council member who now advises the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. "No one ‘broke up with allies’ and wrote more ‘love letters’ to dictators than Obama and Kerry. We had a name for their ultimate embrace of murderous dictators and abandonment of our closest allies: the Iran nuclear deal. The contrast today is amazing: Kerry's legacy was a short-term extortion payoff to a state sponsor of terrorism; Trump's legacy is brokering Middle East peace."