WASHINGTON – Senator Elizabeth Warren warned on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's policies toward Iran were bringing the U.S. close to war with Tehran. Warren, one of the leading candidates in the Democratic presidential primary, was the first of the leaders in the race for the nomination to address the ongoing crisis in Iraq, where pro-Iranian demonstrators have been attacking the American embassy in Baghdad.
"Trump’s reckless decisions to walk away from the Iran deal and now to launch airstrikes in Iraq without Iraqi government consent have brought us closer to war and endangered U.S. troops and diplomats," Warren said in a statement. She added: "We should end the forever wars, not start new ones."
Other Democratic lawmakers in Washington also expressed alarm over the situation and criticized Trump's policy. "Really hard to overstate how badly Trump has bungled things in the Middle East," said Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut. "One of the only good things going – anti-Iran street protests in Iraq – have now morphed into anti-U.S. protests thanks to Trump's mishandling of Iran policy."
Senator Tim Kaine, who serves together with Murphy on the Foreign Relations Committee, also warned about an escalation that could lead to war, saying that "Trump’s malpractice in the region is making us less safe. Time for Congress to stop this foolish rush to war."
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg echoed the sentiment on Twitter. "Our civilian diplomats and our military are now becoming targets of proxy attacks caused by Iranian aggression, in an environment made more volatile by the erratic foreign policy of Donald Trump," he wrote. Buttigieg, a Navy veteran, accused Trump's action of endangering U.S. service members overseas.
Trump has meanwhile been backed by senior Republican senators regarding the developments in Iraq. Senator Lindsey Graham wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he had met Trump in the White House to discuss the situation.
"President Trump is determined to protect American personnel and expects our Iraqi partners to step up to the plate. No more Benghazis," Graham wrote, referring to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, expressed support for Trump's policy toward Iran, stating: "Iran-backed terrorists are responsible for the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, putting American lives in danger. We must hold them accountable and continue to respond decisively to their destabilizing behavior in the region."