Tags: Iran | Trump Administration | johnbolton | sanctions | nationalsecurity | adviser

Axios: Bolton Resigned Over Talk of Easing Iran Sanctions

john bolton speaks with the media after a meeting
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton (Viktor Tolochko/Sputnik via AP)

By    |   Sunday, 15 September 2019 09:00 AM

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton's resignation came this week after President Donald Trump spoke about the possibility of easing Iranian sanctions,  a source told Axios.

Bolton, famously a hardliner against foreign adversaries, reportedly believed strongly the maximum pressure campaign against Iran was working and easing sanctions would have been capitulating, according to the anonymous source.

The news came just as a series of brazen attacks on a massive Saudi Aramco oil facility this weekend knocked off half of Saudi Arabia's oil production and threatened to send world oil markets skyrocketing.

Houthi rebels claimed the attacks that were carried out by roughly a dozen drones that originated in Yemen. But on Saturday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo blamed Iran, an ally of the Houthis, for the attack.

Pompeo tweeted after the White House confirmed that President Donald Trump offered support for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense in a call on Saturday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Iran launched an “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo said on Twitter after at least one Republican lawmaker urged the U.S. to respond in kind with a strike on Iranian oil facilities. He gave no evidence to back up that allegation.

Iran denied responsibility but said it is ready for war. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Having failed at ‘max pressure,’ @SecPompeo’s turning to ‘max deceit.’”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a confidant of Trump, earlier urged a decisive U.S. response against Iranian targets.

“It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment,” Graham of South Carolina said on Twitter. “Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries.”

The Trump administration has been imposing economic sanctions on Iran after decertifying and pulling out of the Obama-era nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA). The deal restricted levels of uraninum enrichment, which Iran had ceased to adhere to, despite wanting to maintain the agreements with European countries.

Iran has expressed an interest in renegotiating with the U.S. if sanctions are lifted, according to the report, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "signaled approval" of Bolton's ouster, according to an AP report.

President Trump has frequently negotiated with U.S. adversaries and has been oft-criticized for it, particularly in the interactions with North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

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Former National Security Adviser John Bolton's resignation came this week after President Donald Trump spoke about the possibility of easing Iranian sanctions, a source told Axios.Bolton, famously a hardliner against foreign adversaries...
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2019-00-15
Sunday, 15 September 2019 09:00 AM
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