Sunday 15 September 2019

Trump 'annoyed' by warlike plans from his advisers over Iran threat

Annoyed: President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Annoyed: President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

John Hudson, Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey, Anne Gearan in Washington

The Trump administration has been on high alert in response to what military and intelligence officials have deemed specific and credible threats from Iran against US personnel in the Middle East.

But President Donald Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several US officials. Mr Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran's leaders.

Disagreements over assessing and responding to the recent intelligence - which includes a directive from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that some American officials interpret as a threat to US personnel in the Middle East - are also fraying alliances with foreign allies, according to officials in the United States and Europe.

Mr Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking, said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations Mr Trump had regarding national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed," the official said.

Mr Bolton, who advocated regime change in Iran before joining the White House last year, is "just in a different place" from Mr Trump, although the president has been a fierce critic of Iran since long before he hired Mr Bolton. Mr Trump "wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal" and is open to negotiation with the Iranian government, the official said.

"He is not comfortable with all this 'regime change' talk," which to his ears echoes the discussion of removing Iraqi president Saddam Hussein before the 2003 US invasion, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr Trump is not inclined to respond forcefully unless there is a "big move" from the Iranians, a senior White House official said. (© The Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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