Stories by Barbara Slavin

Expert Voices

U.S. pushes Iranian regime change in Warsaw, with mixed support

U.S. policy toward Iran hardened further in Poland this week, as U.S. officials demanded that Europe abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and suggested that Iranians rise up and overthrow their government.

Expert Voices

In Cairo speech, Pompeo tries to straighten out Trump's Mideast policy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart following their meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs in Cairo on January 10, 2019.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference in Cairo, Jan. 10. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did his best on Thursday to paper over the contradictions in the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, in a speech that was heavy on Iran bashing and light on criticism of U.S. allies.

The big picture: Pompeo performed his greatest verbal gymnastics when seeking to project an image of U.S. resolve against both Iran and the Islamic State, or ISIS, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria — the main purpose of the secretary’s current Mideast tour. But given varying White House statements, Pompeo’s claims that withdrawing the 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria doesn't constitute “a change in mission” deserve skepticism.

Expert Voices

Trump administration blinks on "zero" oil exports from Iran

John Bolton, National Security Adviser to the US President, gives a press briefing in Tbilisi.
National security adviser John Bolton gives a press briefing in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Oct. 26. Photo: Mikhail Japaridze/TASS via Getty Images

Days before U.S. secondary sanctions against Iran’s central bank and oil industry go back into effect, U.S. officials are conceding that they will allow certain countries to continue to import Iranian oil. National security adviser John Bolton, an uber-hawk on Iran, told a Washington audience on Oct. 31, “We want to achieve maximum pressure, but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either.”

Why this matters: After six months of fearsome demands that foreign countries completely stop importing Iranian oil by Nov. 5, the Trump administration is bowing to the hard realities of geopolitics and economics.

More stories loading.