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Trump Calls Out Intelligence Community, Warns Iran Is Still ‘Source Of Potential Danger And Conflict’

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

President Donald Trump suggested that members of the intelligence community “should go back to school” for failing to grasp the volatility of Iran Wednesday after the release of the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” Tuesday.

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict.  They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”

A story by The New York Times characterized Tuesday’s American intelligence assessment as “directly contradicting the rationale” of Trump’s Iran foreign policy, although intelligence officials offered scenarios in which Iran could back away from a 2015 nuclear agreement during Senate Intelligence Committee testimony Tuesday.

Trump withdrew from the agreement on May 8 and vowed to place sanctions on Iran because of the agreement’s “lack of perpetual ban on a nuclear program and how it fails to address the Islamic Republic’s malign activity across the Middle East,” reported The Daily Caller. The agreement still stands as a deal between Iran and countries other than the U.S. (RELATED: Report: Man Hanged In Iran On Charges Of Kidnapping, Homosexuality)

The Times summed up Tuesday testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats:

But on one of Mr. Trump’s key assertions — that Iran had cheated on the spirit of the 2015 nuclear agreement even if it was temporarily following its terms — Mr. Coats said Tehran continued to comply with the deal even after the president announced in May that the United States would withdraw from it.

“We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” Mr. Coats said.

He added, however, that Iranian officials have “publicly threatened to push the boundaries” of the nuclear agreement if it did not see benefits that were promised, including a resumption of oil sales and an end to American sanctions against its financial transactions around the world.

(L-R) FBI Director Christopher Wray; CIA Director Gina Haspel; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency; and Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency await testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" January 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(L-R) FBI Director Christopher Wray; CIA Director Gina Haspel; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency; and Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency await testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

CIA Director Gina Haspel agreed with Coats that Iran was not violating the 2015 agreement. The Times reported on her Tuesday Senate Intelligence Committee testimony:

[She] added that Iranian leaders were considering steps that would “lessen their adherence” to the agreement.

“They are making some preparations that would increase their ability to take a step back if they make that decision,” Ms. Haspel said. “So at the moment, technically they are in compliance, but we do see them debating amongst themselves as they’ve failed to realize the economic benefits they hoped for from the deal.”

This picture taken on September 22, 2018 shows an Iranian soldier seated in the turret of a tank passing by a large poster of the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a stand where the president is seated, during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

This picture taken on September 22, 2018 shows an Iranian soldier seated in the turret of a tank passing by a large poster of the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly threatened to ditch the 2015 nuclear deal should it no longer work in his country’s favor, claiming the agreement was simply a means to an end for his government.

Iran also test-fired an Iranian Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missile — the first such test in at least a year and the first since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal — in early August.

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