(Bloomberg) -- Democratic front-runner Joe Biden called President Donald Trump's Iran strategy a "self-inflicted disaster" after Iran shot down an American spy drone, raising tensions in a region that's been on the verge of military conflict for weeks.
"Two of America's vital interests in the Middle East are preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and securing a stable energy supply through the Strait of Hormuz. Trump is failing on both counts," the former vice president said in a statement Thursday.
Biden blamed increased hostilities with Iran on Trump's decision to abandon a 2015 agreement to stop that nation from getting nuclear weapons. The multilateral agreement was negotiated by the former administration of President Barack Obama while Biden was vice president. Trump quit the accord a year ago and reimposed sanctions to try to force Iran to rein back regional proxy militias and its weapons programs.
"By walking away from diplomacy, Trump has made military conflict more likely," Biden said. "Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need."
Iranian media said the craft was hit inside Iranian airspace. The U.S. on Thursday said the Global Hawk drone was flying in international airspace when it was shot down by an Iranian missile over the Strait of Hormuz, an oil choke-point.
The region has been volatile since the U.S. tightened sanctions on Iranian oil sales in early May, sent military reinforcements to the region and provoked an increasingly squeezed Iranian government to warn European nations that it would breach the multilateral nuclear accord, which had traded some sanctions relief for limits on Tehran's nuclear program.
Frictions flared further last week after an attack on two oil tankers outside the entrance to the Gulf. The U.S. blamed Iran, which has denied involvement.
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