In light of this, it is very good that President Trump fired Tillerson. Trump campaigned on the promise to cancel the Iran deal, which he correctly called the worst deal in American history. He has been restrained from doing so by holdover Obama-era Iran appeasers, as well as by those who have been influenced by them. Chief among that group is Tillerson. Now with Pompeo at the helm at State, maybe the State Department swamp will finally be drained, and some real America-First personnel appointed.
“Tillerson Fired Over Rogue Bid to Save Iran Nuke Deal,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, March 13, 2018:
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The abrupt firing Tuesday of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson follows months of infighting between the State Department and White House over efforts by Tillerson to save the Iran nuclear deal and ignore President Donald Trump’s demands that the agreement be fixed or completely scrapped by the United States, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
In the weeks leading up to Tillerson’s departure, he had been spearheading efforts to convince European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program and continued nuclear research.
While Trump had prescribed a range of fixes that he viewed as tightening the deal’s flaws, Tillerson recently caved to European pressure to walk back these demands and appease Tehran while preserving the deal, according to these sources. The Free Beacon first disclosed this tension last week in a wide-ranging report.
White House allies warned Tillerson’s senior staff for weeks that efforts to save the nuclear deal and balk on Trump’s key demands regarding the deal could cost Tillerson his job, a warning that became reality Tuesday when Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.
Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former member of Congress who established a record as being tough on Iran and echoing many of the policies called for by Trump. Insiders expect Pompeo to take a much harder line on the nuclear deal and pursue many of the fixes advocated by Trump, such as outlawing Iran’s ballistic missile program and instating fierce repercussions for any future breach.
While Tillerson’s exit had been rumored for months, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation said the former secretary’s repeated attempts to balk the White House and pursue his own diplomatic strategy, particularly regarding Iran, triggered his sudden exit.
Sources with knowledge of the matter said the White House informed Tillerson on Friday that Trump was seeking to make a change.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and vocal opponent of the nuclear deal, said he expects Pompeo to more faithfully execute Trump’s policies regarding Iran.
“President Trump has been clear that the Iran deal is terrible policy and has sought ways to hold Iran accountable,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon. “With Mike Pompeo, Trump will have a Secretary of State who sees the threat posed by the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and by Tehran in a similar light as he does.”
One veteran Iran policy expert who is close to the White House and worked repeatedly with the State Department told the Free Beacon that Tillerson worked to save the Iran deal as Trump was publicly advocating to scrap the agreement.
This tension between the White House and Foggy Bottom came to a head in recent days, prompting Trump to fire Tillerson and bring in Pompeo, an official who Trump believes will pressure European allies to more seriously fix a range of flaws in the nuclear deal.
“Tillerson staked his position on saving the Iran deal by threading the needle. He promised the president he could strengthen it enough to be good, but not so much the Europeans would backlash or the Iranians would bolt,” said the source, who would only speak about the sensitive matter on background. “That was always going to be tricky, then it became impossible, then it became embarrassing. The Europeans weren’t giving us enough on missiles and were refusing to budge on sunsets. And so here we are.”
Opponents of the Iran deal on Capitol Hill welcomed the news of Tillerson’s exit, telling the Free Beacon that as the deadline approaches for the United States and European allies to fix the Iran deal, Pompeo can help push Trump’s hardline stance.
“As the deadline approaches to fix the Iran Deal, Tillerson’s departure is welcome news. We need our top diplomat to share the president’s view on the disastrous nature of the JCPOA, and CIA Director Pompeo is the right man for the job,” said one senior congressional official who works on the Iran issue. “Hopefully now our European partners understand the president’s resolve and will work with us to permanently prevent Iran from going nuclear.”
Shortly after Trump fired Tillerson, the former secretary’s spokesman issued a statement claiming Tillerson was not sure of the reason for his dismissal.
“The secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason,” Steve Goldstein, undersecretary for public diplomacy, told reporters. Goldstein was fired later in the day due to his statement….
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