Trump Decided to Fire Bolton After He Opposed Easing Iran Sanctions, Report Says

Hoping to secure a meeting with Rohani, Trump discussed lessening the pressure on Iran and was supported by Mnuchin but countered by Bolton, according to a Bloomberg report

Trump receives and Bolton at the Cabinet Room of the White House, April 9, 2018.
\ Carlos Barria/ REUTERS

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton was fired by President Donald Trump after he forcefully opposed easing sanctions on Iran as a move to secure talks with Iranian President Hassan Rohani later this month, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing three sources close to the matter.

According to the report, Trump discussed the idea in an Oval Office meeting on Monday, and was supported by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin but opposed by Bolton. Several hours later, Trump decided to oust Bolton. 

"We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about the possibility the United States would ease up on its "maximum pressure" campaign.

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On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the Trump administration is willing to meet with Iranian leadership "with no preconditions" during the United Nations General Assembly, which will take place on the week of September 23.

On Wednesday, Iran said that Tehran will not restart negotiations with the United States while sanctions against Iran remain in place, and that the ousting of Bolton will not make it reconsider its policy. Rohani reiterated his position to French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call, according to Iranian state media. 

The United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement last year and imposed sanctions on Iran with the aim of halting its oil exports and forcing Tehran to negotiate a more sweeping "comprehensive deal."

Iran has said it will negotiate only if Washington lifts the sanctions and in the meantime has begun breaching some of the deal's restrictions on its atomic activities, in what it calls a step-by-step, reversible response to the U.S. withdrawal and the failure of European countries to protect it from U.S. measures