Sep 11, 2019

Iran's leaders bid good riddance to John Bolton

Photo: Win McNamee/Thomas Koehler/Photothek/Getty Images

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the U.S. should "put warmongers aside " following President Trump's sudden dismissal of John Bolton as a national security adviser, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Bolton's departure removes one of the strongest opponents of detente with Tehran. Rouhani "signaled approval" of Trump's decision, the AP notes. But he also reiterated that Iran is only interested in talks with the U.S. if suffocating economic sanctions are lifted, per Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

"Americans have to realize that warmongering and warmongers are not to their benefit. They should not only abandon warmongering but also abandon their maximum pressure policy."
— Rouhani, per Tasnim News Agency

The big picture: There's speculation that Trump and Rouhani could meet during the UN General Assembly this month in New York. It's not clear whether Iran would agree to such a meeting, but Rouhani's comments "suggest Tehran would be willing to pin hostilities on the departing Bolton rather than Trump himself," writes the AP.

What they're saying:

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif referred to Bolton — who has repeatedly called for regime change in Iran — as the "warmonger-in-chief." He said the world was "breathing a sigh of relief" over his ouster.
  • Gen. Mohsen Rezaee, a hardline former chief of the Revolutionary Guard, was more cautions: “We will not be deceived by the sacrificing of Bolton.”

Go deeper: Israel-Iran tensions could threaten prospects for Trump-Rouhani meeting

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