(Persia Digest) - President Trump doesn’t intend to relent in his maximum pressure campaign against Iran, the remaining architects of the policy maintained after the exit of White House national security adviser John Bolton.
“I think you know we've done more sanctions on Iran than anybody,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Tuesday, in a joint press briefing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “And it's absolutely working.”
Joel Gehrke writes in The Washington Examiner that Mnuchin made those comments just minutes after announcing a new executive order to intensify counterterrorism efforts, including three people involved in Iran’s support for Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group. But that order was over-shadowed by Trump’s announcement that his third national security adviser’s “services are no longer needed at the White House," in an acrimonious expulsion of one of the arch Iran hawks in U.S. foreign policy circles.
“I sincerely hope his leaving the White House does not mean that the deep-state forces at State and Treasury—who have been fighting tooth and nail to preserve the Obama Iran nuclear deal—have finally convinced the president to go soft on Iran,” Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday in response to Bolton’s exit. “Relaxing the maximum pressure strategy, which is succeeding in dramatically weakening the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, would be an enormous mistake.”
Trump alarmed Iran hawks last month by acknowledging that he might be willing to extend Iran a “letter of credit,” as part of a French-led effort to provide sanctions relief to the regime. Both Bolton and Pompeo moved to assure allies that the maximum pressure campaign was not changing, while Mnuchin’s Treasury Department team prepared new sanctions to put a crimp in an Iranian “oil for terror” smuggling network. Those gestures haven’t eradicated the unease that some Iran hawks feel over Trump’s desire to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but Mnuchin tried to allay those worries.
“Now, the president has made clear he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” he said.
Click here for more political news.