Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump, August 6, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a telephone interview with CNN Tuesday, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that under the auspices of the Iran nuclear agreement, if Israel were to attack the Islamic Republic, the United States would have to come to the Tehran's aid.
Trump has vocally opposed the deal since announcing his run for president, saying that the United States "should have doubled up the sanctions for another couple of months" and that the 24-day notice Iran receives before sites can be inspected is unacceptable.
But Trump added an unconventional twist to the opposition argument, suggesting that under the terms of the deal the United States was required to fight alongside Iran if Israel were to attack.
"You know, there is something in the Iran deal that people I don't think really understand or know about," the real estate mogul said. "And nobody is ever to explain it that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense."
Trump added, "And I'm saying this - that includes Israel? And most people say, yes. So, if Israel attacks Iran according to that deal, I believe... that we have to fight with Iran against Israel."
In one of its annexes, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action calls for cooperation by Western powers with Iran on nuclear safety "as appropriate." Such cooperation may include training and workshops for Iran to ward against sabotage of its declared, legal civilian nuclear facilities.
Nowhere in the agreement, however, is the United States or any other party required to come to the defense of Iran should the country be attacked.
On Wednesday, the Obama administration secured the support of 34 senators for its landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, ensuring its safe passage through a vote scheduled in Congress this month.
Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat from Maryland, announced her support for the deal
on Wednesday morning. She followed announcements from two Democratic colleagues, senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey, Jr. from Pennsylvania, the previous day.
Congress may still vote and pass a resolution disapproving of the deal when it reconvenes next week.Michael Wilner contributed to this report.