Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been a longtime supporter of a deal allowing Iran to obtain nuclear fuel. He was very skeptical that President Barack Obama could negotiate such a deal — and he worried that Obama would start a war with Iran to win a second presidential term.
In December 2011, Trump criticized Obama for not negotiating fast enough with Iran and for allowing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be treated in an insufficiently dignified manner when the then-Iranian president spoke at Columbia University in New York City.
At the time, Trump also declared that he was deeply worried that Obama would go to war with Iran in an effort to win re-election in 2012.
Obama “would” start a war with Iran because, “look, nobody’s even talking to Iran,” Trump told Blitzer on CNN on Dec. 8, 2011.
Trump further suggested that Iranians could have good, trustworthy intentions or could be wholly diabolical. He said he just didn’t know.
“Now, maybe they’re the evil empire, maybe they’re the bad people, and maybe they’re not,” Trump told Blitzer on CNN.
“I’m a hawk times five, all right? But I’m also somebody that believes in negotiation rather than, you know, killing millions of people,” Trump explained. “And Obama has no way of communicating. He can’t even get his own Democrats, Democratic Party to do what he wants to do. He can’t get the Republicans and the Democrats together. How is he going to make a deal with Iran?”
Trump said he would “absolutely” negotiate with Ahmadinejad.
Trump’s negotiation strategy, he explained, would be to strike a bellicose pose and threaten war.
“You got a lot of missiles pointed your way,” Trump said he would say. “I can’t believe you’re not talking. I can’t believe that you’re not talking. You better straighten up. And I’ll tell you what, I would be willing to bet a deal could be made.”
Trump did not explain the apparent contradiction between his concern that Obama was going to start a war with Iran and his own plan to threaten war with Iran to bring a nuclear deal together.
In 2007, Trump told Blitzer that Hillary Clinton “would do a good job” negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran because she “always surrounded herself with very good people.” (RELATED: Hillary Makes Hard Choice, Decides Not To Weigh In On Iran Negotiations)
“We have a bunch of third-rate people doing our negotiating for us,” Trump added back in 2007. “We have diplomats that nobody ever heard of and they’re not negotiators.”
On July 14, 2015, representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and various European Union nations reached the comprehensive nuclear deal that will facilitate Iran’s nuclear program.
The Iran deal, which still must get approval from the U.S. Congress, will lift economic sanctions on Iran in return for the country submitting to international inspections and promising not to produce weapons-grade nuclear material. Obama and other supporters argue the deal has strong “snapback” provisions, allowing sanctions to be re-imposed quickly if Iran cheats. (RELATED: Obama Gets Critical Vote On Iran Deal)
The Obama administration has repeatedly promised that Iran will only use nuclear capabilities for peaceful means under the terms of the deal.
Critics argue that the inspections regime is far too weak and that the end of sanctions will provide a huge cash boost to Iran’s regime, allowing it to fund terrorist operations around the world.
Trump currently leads the crowded field of presidential candidates.
The real estate tycoon has called himself a member of the GOP since 2009. However, he has changed his party affiliation also at least four times in the last 16 years — an average of once for each presidential election. He was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2009. (RELATED: From Immigration To Abortion, Longtime Democrat Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Rich Progressive History)
Earlier this summer — after over five years of calling himself a Republican — Trump clarified his desire to run for president under the GOP umbrella. He noted that he had been “part of the establishment” until an abrupt departure in June 2015. (RELATED: From High Taxes To National Health Care, Donald Trump Must Reckon With His Progressive Past)
The billionaire industrialist insists that he has broad national support and can win a general election. This resolute confidence about winning elections does not come from a history of winning elections. He has never won one.
Last week, Trump laid out his foreign policy methodology to radio host Hugh Hewitt by explaining that “you don’t want to let people know what you are going to do.” (RELATED: Trump Talks Foreign Policy)