Following the departure of John Bolton from the White House there is an obstacle to the possibility of US-Iranian nuclear talks, but the odds of such kind of statement anywhere remain low, said current and former officials on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump fired his national security adviser, who as a private citizen had advocated military action to destroy its nuclear program and who disagreed with his boss over policies from Afghanistan to Russia while in office.
Bolton, the third security adviser of Trump had argued for driving Iranian oil exports to zero while Trump desired to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. A former State Department official, Cliff Kupchan wrote in an analysis, “Bolton has been ‘Dr No’ when it comes to talks with Iran.” Presently Cliff is at the Eurasia Group political risk consultancy.
While Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei probably would not allow a meeting at this month’s UN General Assembly, Kupchan said: “There’s upward pressure on the chance of a meeting. If it does happen, we’d see more downward umph on the oil price.”
After the departure of Bolton, US oil prices fell more than 1 percent and the investors speculating that it increased the odds of the United States easing sanctions on Iran and reduced the odds of any possible strike.
The 2015 multilateral agreement, last year was abandoned by Trump with the support of Trump under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions. The move was also supported by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
Since that time Trump has restored the US sanctions and moved in May to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. Trump also claimed that the 2015 agreement did not do enough to keep Iran from eventually acquiring a nuclear weapon. At the same time, he also criticized it for failing to address Iran’s ballistic program and support for religion proxies.
During an announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were “completely aligned on our maximum pressure campaign.” Mike Pompeo was asked whether he could predict a Trump-Rouhani meeting this month to which he replied, “Sure.”
“The president has made very clear he is prepared to meet with no preconditions,” Pompeo added. Phil Gordon, a former Obama State Department, and White House official said, “The problem has never been imagining talks between the two sides.”
According to him, Trump has shown by his talks with North Korea that he “loves to be at the center of things.”
“The problem, instead, is envisaging a deal that both sides could actually agree to. It is hard to see the Iranians accepting current US conditions, which include ending uranium enrichment forever, even more intrusive inspections, constraints on ballistic missiles and a complete change in Iran’s regional policy,” he added.
“So to get a deal, Trump would have to significantly lower the bar, which would be hard to sell domestically and in the region,” Gordon said. “Bolton’s departure may remove one obstacle to that, but there are plenty still in the way.”