No Talks With US While Sanctions In Place: Rouhani

Opinion: John Bolton got the boot. So much for Trump's 'team of rivals'

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, made the comment on Wednesday, following the departure of US President Donald Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, from the US administration.

Trump abruptly fired Bolton amid disagreements with his hard-line aide over how to handle foreign policy challenges such as North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Russian Federation. A longtime proponent of military-backed regime change in Iran, Bolton's departure was announced by Trump in a Tuesday tweet.

Amid the fraught political climate, Trump loyalists signaled he is prepared to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani - something that French President Emmanuel Macron had proposed in an effort to salvage a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran from which Trump withdrew the United States.

In June, following Trump's decision not to order a military attack on Iran after it downed an unmanned USA drone, Bolton was "devastated", said one US official familiar with the matter.

Toossi said Washington "greatly undermined its credibility" when Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal unilaterally, making it hard for Iranian leaders to trust the US.

This comes while White House spokesman Judd Deere had said on September 5 that during a conversation with Macron, Donald Trump had stressed that sanctions against Iran will not be lifted at this point.

Zarif said "the world - minus 3 or 2 panicked cohorts - was breathing a sigh of relief" after Bolton's ouster.

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.

Zarif has often said that a "B-team" that includes Bolton could goad Trump into a conflict with Tehran.

Washington says that the agreement reached by President Trump's predecessor Barack Obama was too week because many of its terms expire in ten years and it does not cover non-nuclear issues such as Iran's missile programme and regional behaviour. Trump came to power promising an end to the United States' "endless war", saying that the country has wasted billions of dollars on a military presence that does more to protect wealthy USA allies than average American citizens.

Iran has responded with a series of steps to reduce its compliance with the nuclear deal, although it says it still aims to keep it in place.

For his part, Bolton was a longtime hard-liner on Iran who favored regime change and took money for speaking engagements from an Iranian exile group reviled by Tehran called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK. 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". On Wednesday, he said that "if necessary, we will take other steps in future". "And that's why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!"

"There was never really a national security process that connected to the president". "Right now I'm a government official. 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".

An about-face regarding sanctions and a restart of negotiations would divide Republicans and USA hardliners in the national security establishment. "It's up to him (Trump) to make those decisions".

The White House on Tuesday said Trump was willing to meet Rouhani without preconditions while maintaining its campaign of "maximum pressure" on Iran. What happens next remains unclear.

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