Washington (CNN)One of President Barack Obama's defense secretaries warned that the Iranian regime could ratchet up its attacks and nuclear ambitions now that the US has abandoned the Iran nuclear deal.
Ex-US defense secretary warns of heightened Iranian activity after US exits Iran deal
"I worry that the Iranians in the near term are going to start once again doing things," Ash Carter told CNN's "New Day" co-anchor Chris Cuomo on Friday. "They have conducted attacks on the United States, harassing, using proxies to attack Americans."
He added, "So they may start doing things that they wouldn't have done. And we need to protect ourselves."
Carter, who served two years as the Pentagon's top official, said he would not have advised pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, a move President Donald Trump announced Tuesday.
"It did not take off the table all of Iran's many malign activities in the region," Carter said of the international agreement reached in 2015. "It did take off the table in a verifiable way the near-term prospect of them getting a nuclear weapon. From a defense point of view, that was important."
Carter also said that if the deal unravels and Iran reboots its nuclear program, "it creates for us the prospect of having more forces to deter, more defenses to defend in the region, which inevitably drains forces away from Asia, from Europe."
The Iranian Foreign Minister said Friday the country will make preparations to restart nuclear enrichment on an "industrial scale" as Iran attempts to try and save the deal with international diplomacy.
Israel said Thursday it had struck almost all of Iran's military capabilities in Syria after what it said was an Iranian missile attack from inside Syria toward the Golan Heights.