Iran’s president has welcomed Donald Trump’s abrupt dismissal of his national security adviser, saying the US should “put warmongers aside” amid tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Hassan Rouhani’s remarks signalled approval after the US president forced out John Bolton, who had been hawkish on Iran and other global challenges.
Rouhani’s website quoted him as urging the US to “abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy” on Tehran.
Ali Rabiei, a government spokesman, said after a cabinet meeting that Bolton’s dismissal may help the US have a “less biased” attitude towards Iran.
The sudden shake-up in Washington marked the latest departure of a prominent voice of dissent from the president’s inner circle, as Trump has grown less accepting of advice contrary to his instincts.
It comes at a trying moment for Trump on the world stage as the president faces pressing decisions on difficult foreign policy issues.
Tensions between Bolton, the president’s third national security adviser, and other officials have flared in recent months over influence in the president’s orbit and how to manage his desire to negotiate with some of the world’s most unsavoury leaders.
Since joining the administration in spring last year, Bolton has voiced scepticism about the president’s whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea, and had recently become a vocal internal critic of potential talks between Trump and leaders of Iran and Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Bolton also broke with Trump with his vocal condemnation of Russia’s global aggression, and last year he masterminded a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to persuade the president to keep US forces in Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State and Iranian influence in the region.
On Twitter on Tuesday, Trump and Bolton offered opposing accounts on the adviser’s departure.
The president said he told Bolton on Monday night that his services were no longer needed at the White House and Bolton submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning.
Bolton responded in a tweet that he offered to resign on Monday “and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow’”.
Trump explained that he had “disagreed strongly” with many of Bolton’s suggestions as national security adviser, “as did others in the administration”.
Bolton’s letter of resignation, dated Tuesday, was only two sentences long. He wrote: “Dear Mr President, I hereby resign, effective immediately, as assistant to the president for national security affairs. Thank you for having afforded me this opportunity to serve our country.”
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?