Trump Frustrated by Perception of Iran Strategy

Sergio Conner
May 18, 2019

An interesting choice for voters who otherwise dislike Trump's foreign policy.

Behold these remarkable paragraphs in the "New York Times", which will seem chillingly familiar to anyone who paid close attention to the run-up to Iraq: "Intelligence and military officials in Europe as well as in the United States said that over the past year, most aggressive moves have originated not in Tehran, but in Washington - where John R Bolton, the national security adviser, has prodded President Trump into backing Iran into a corner".

No new intelligence on Iran's activities was presented at the meeting, according to a person in the room. National Security Adviser Bolton prefers war, but he has lost that debate on North Korea and Venezuela... "Bolton's doing a great job".

His job should be in trouble, if only because his view of interventionism is terribly mismatched with Trump's.

"We exercise maximum restraint", he said, despite the Trump administration's unilateral move a year ago to withdraw from the worldwide agreement on Iran's nuclear program. The post-9/11 GOP is thick with hawks.

Iranian mullahs clinging to power by playing the nationalist card with America as the enemy is an old story, not a new one.

Iran dismissed any suggestion of a dialogue with Trump. US intelligence showed heightened activity by Iran or its proxies that USA officials took as a threat against American targets in the region.

British Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, a key commander of the multinational force deployed to Iraq and Syria, refuted the US allegations, saying, "There's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria". Either way, the British government is backing the intelligence up.

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Zarif also said Tehran was showing "maximum restraint" despite the US withdrawal from the deal and accused Washington of an "unacceptable" escalation of the crisis.

He pointed to Trump's partial military withdrawal from Syria as evidence that Trump is eager to avoid a war despite this week's escalation.

US-Iranian tensions have escalated in recent days, bringing increasing concerns about possible conflict.

"Your administration, however, is making assertions that are at odds with these findings", the letter reads, citing Pompeo's casting of Iran as engaging in "nuclear blackmail" and a new State Department report on worldwide arms control compliance that hinted Iran was not in compliance with obligations on nonproliferation. Or maybe he's just annoyed with all the war chatter lately insofar as it implies that his hawkish NSA, not the president, is calling the shots here. Trump said in a tweet.

Now, whispering into the ear of Trump, who received five draft deferments during Vietnam, including one in the spring of 1968 for "bone spurs", John Bolton, along with Trump, is willing to send 120,000 or more USA troops into war.

The curbs under the nuclear deal were aimed at extending the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to a year from roughly 2-3 months. First come the threats, then come the sanctions, then comes an unlikely diplomatic breakthrough in which the formerly belligerent enemy regime sits down at the bargaining table with President Deals for a charm offensive.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday that "the escalation by the United States is unacceptable and uncomfortable", and that despite the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran is exercising "maximum restraint". It also follows a the State Department earlier this week ordering all non-emergency government employees to leave the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Consulate in Erbil amid tensions with Iran. But how can it happen?

Mohammad Marandi, professor of English literature at Tehran University, said Iran is unlikely to enter into fresh negotiations with the U.S. on its nuclear programme as it does not trust the US.

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