Intel: Bolton ouster leaves uncertain future for Iran policy

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a cabinet meeting in Tehran Sept. 11 2019

Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that Bolton forcefully opposed a plan recently to reduce sanctions on Iran as a means of setting up a meeting later this month between Trump and the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

Legacy: While Bolton influenced a shift toward using financial and military pressure around the globe at the National Security Council, former administration officials said he was unable to build a policy process that aligned with Trump.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said immediately after that Trump might meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations general assembly this month. He spoke at a cabinet meeting in Tehran.

"The momentum of Bolton's departure might make a strong argument for a meeting to happen in NY this month, but US-Iranian tensions are not all about Bolton; there are issues that need to be discussed and compromises to be made", Macaron said.

Days before his resignation, Bolton had argued harshly against an emerging deal with the Taliban to withdraw us troops in exchange for a promise that the militant group would not allow the country to become a staging ground for terrorist attacks on the United States.

"You know we´ve done more sanctions on Iran than anybody, and it´s absolutely working", Mnuchin said.

On 20 June, Trump authorised - then called off - United States strikes against Iran after Iranian forces shot down a U.S. drone that Tehran said was flying over Iranian territory.

"The declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs' regime in Tehran", Bolton told a cheering crowd of MEK supporters in March 2018.

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"So I am convinced, I have no doubts at all, that in any situation - with talks, without talks - President Trump and his administration will be very, very tough with Iran".

Iranian officials also accused the USA and Israel of "undue pressure" over its nuclear programme and warned it could be "counterproductive" to cooperation with the UN's nuclear watchdog.

On Saturday, Iran began installing advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium at a faster rate, its third step in reducing commitments under the 2015 deal.

On the other hand, Trump has also showed a hesitation when it comes to aggressive military engagements, and he campaigned on disentangling the USA from endless war. Bolton's departure from the White House could be seen as improving the odds of such a meeting taking place which traders have evidently viewed as a potential tailwind for crude oil supply - thus dinging the commodity's price. Bolton famously wrote in 2015, before Iran's nuclear deal was struck, an op-ed in The New York Times headlined: "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran". That effort wasn't an explicit condition of USA policy until Bolton took the helm of the National Security Council. "The behaviors and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself".

"Bolton's ouster as national security advisor shouldn't come as a complete surprise".

"I don't back away from any of it. If Israel had to act on its own, I'd imagine they would feel better having a clear-eyed hawk like Bolton at the president's side". When Trump made a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone in June, Trump dispatched Bolton to Mongolia instead of having him stay in the country for the Trump-Kim meeting.

Trump's decision Tuesday was to fire Bolton. What happens next remains unclear.

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