2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has said in a CBS News interview that she believes war with Iran would be "far more devastating" to the US than its Iraq campaign was.
Gabbard insisted US President Donald Trump was "pushing us closer and closer to war with Iran."
The 38-year-old member of the House of Representatives from Hawaii voiced the opinion that Trump was wrong to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration. Although she believed a "stronger" deal was needed, she thought it was better than no deal.
"I think there are some flaws right now with it. But ultimately, when it came down to it, that nuclear agreement prevented war. And that's the danger of what the Trump administration is doing right now, pushing us closer and closer to war with Iran by ripping up that deal," said Gabbard.
"Deploying US troops to the region, they basically set the dynamite fuse and lit it, for another war that will be far more devastating [than what] we saw throughout Iraq, the war that I served in," said Gabbard, who served in combat zones in Iraq as a member of the Hawaii National Guard between 2004 and 2005, and was deployed in 2009 to Kuwait, where she lead a platoon.
In a new spiral of escalating tensions, Iran has reportedly announced it is set to increase the level of uranium enrichment beyond the threshold allowed under the 2015 nuclear agreement. 7 July marks the end of the 60-day deadline Iran had set for Europe to deliver on financial incentives contained in the nuclear deal.
Tehran revealed its first breach of the nuclear deal Monday, announcing it had begun stockpiling low-enriched uranium beyond the 300kg limit allowed, a year after the US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions.
Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser on international affairs to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iranian officials were unanimous in their decision to raise the level of uranium enrichment, reported Reuters.
“We need uranium enriched to 5% for use in the Bushehr [power plant] and this is a completely peaceful purpose,” Velayati said.
Velayati said the decision is a "result of consensus" in the Iranian establishment in response to the "violations" committed by the remaining parties to the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran has been urging European signatories to the deal to combat the US sanctions, which it says are a form of “economic warfare” and are taking their toll on the Iranian economy.
Iran’s chief demand is that the country be permitted to export crude oil at the same levels before the US reimposed sanctions.
Tensions between the US and Iran escalated in recent months. In June, Tehran shot down a US spy drone, claiming it had been in violation of Iran’s airspace.
Trump signed off on new sanctions against Iran at the end of June, and the Department of Defense sent an aircraft carrier, thousands of troops and B-52 bombers to the region.
On 8 May 2018 US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA over Iran's alleged violations of the agreement. Soon after leaving the JCPOA, the United States reinstated economic sanctions against Iran, which had previously been lifted under the nuclear deal.
In May, Iran announced that the country had partly suspended its obligations under the nuclear deal, giving the other JCPOA signatories 60 days — until July 7 — to save the accord and protect Iran from the crippling impact of US sanctions.