Bernie Sanders came down hard on Donald Trump after the president asserted that the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were carried out on Iran’s behest, according to Common Dreams.
Sanders, an opponent of the American foreign policy of military intervention, has long been skeptical of Trump’s desire to wage a war against Iran in the Middle East. The Vermont senator, who also voted against the Iraq War, said that the current administration is trying to use attacks in the Gulf of Oman as a “pretext for illegal war with Iran.”
“Attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman are unacceptable and must be fully investigated,” the 2020 presidential hopeful said.
“But this incident must not be used as a pretext for a war with Iran, a war which would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the region, and the world.”
Sanders called on America to show its leadership by finding diplomatic solutions, as opposed to military ones.
“The time is now for the United States to exert international leadership and bring the countries in the region together to forge a diplomatic solution to the growing tensions,” he said.
The Gulf of Oman incident must not be used as a pretext for war with Iran. War would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the region, and the world. A unilateral U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal and unconstitutional. https://t.co/D8QK7k50Ur— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 14, 2019
Trump has been on hostile terms with Iran ever since he first became president. His campaign focused extensively on the Iran nuclear deal brokered by John Kerry of the Obama administration, with Trump saying that it was a bad deal for the United States. He pulled out of the deal after becoming president and went on to appoint John Bolton, a known proponent of a war with Iran, as his National Security Advisor, raising fears that Trump may antagonize the Middle Eastern country in hopes to provoke a war. Trump’s further support and sale of arms to Saudi Arabia has exacerbated the problem.
Pres. Trump is adamant that Iran is responsible for the attack on 2 tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday after video allegedly shows Iranians detaching a mine from the hull.— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 14, 2019
"They didn't want the evidence left behind, I guess."@CBSDavidMartin reports https://t.co/JwSUzzp3SU pic.twitter.com/oZE6Pi9ij3
There has been little evidence to back Trump’s claims, however. Although the president tweeted a video claiming it proved that Iran was behind the Gulf of Oman attacks, the Japanese owner of one of the tankers contradicted this narrative. However, that didn’t stop Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from doubling down on the claim.
Fears remain that the Trump administration’s hostile relationship with Iran will eventually boil over and initiate a war, but lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have maintained that they will not be led into a war without concrete evidence, especially after the events of the Iraq War.