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Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren call for de-escalating tensions after Iran strike

Bloomberg Washington | Updated on January 08, 2020 Published on January 08, 2020

US Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden (File photo)   -  REUTERS

Democratic presidential candidates called for de-escalating tensions after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house US forces.

“We have to start on a very sober note,” Elizabeth Warren said at the beginning of a town hall in Brooklyn. “At this moment, my heart and my prayers are with our military and with their families in Iraq, and all around the world. But this is a reminder why we need to de-escalate tension in the Middle East.”

She added that the American people do not want a war with Iran, a remark that was greeted by a standing ovation.

Iran fired a series of missiles at two US-Iraqi airbases early Wednesday morning Baghdad time, the Pentagon said, in the first Iranian response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Republic’s most famous military figure, in a US drone strike last week.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said the heightening of hostilities was predictable after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord and the attack on Soleimani in Baghdad.

Speaking to about 75 supporters at a fundraiser in a Philadelphia suburb, Biden said that some of Trump’s recent actions had been close to ludicrous, including the president’s threat to bomb Iranian cultural sites. “I just pray to God as he goes through what’s happening, as we speak, that he’s listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Biden called on Trump to return to diplomacy with Iran.

“The only way out of this crisis is through diplomacy — clear eyed, hard-nosed diplomacy grounded in a strategy that’s not about one-off decisions and one-upmanship,” Biden said in a speech in New York.

The speech was an opportunity for Biden to showcase his deep knowledge of international issues and to demonstrate to voters that he has leadership qualities he believes the president lacks. “No one wants war,” he said. “But its going to take hard work to make sure we don’t end up there by accident.”

Pete Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer, posted a message of support for US armed forces on Twitter. “Tonight, Americans in Iraq are under fire,” he wrote. “My prayers are with them, their loved ones, and their families.”

Bernie Sanders had no immediate comment about the Iranian strikes, but earlier Tuesday he compared Trump’s actions toward Iran to the 2003 Iraq War, which he opposed. “A war with Iran would likely be even worse,” he said on the PBS News Hour.

Published on January 08, 2020
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