web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Pompeo, Mike

He Enjoys American Coffee and Restaurants. Is He a Credible Negotiator for Iran?

Iranian hard-liners have long mocked their foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as the make-believe American, after a character in a comic Iranian movie who puts on an accent, wardrobe and lifestyle to live out a fantasy of American life.

A resident of the United States on and off for nearly 30 years, Mr. Zarif was the Iranian most closely associated with the negotiation of the 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sweeping economic sanctions.

To ordinary Iranians and reformists, that made him a hero. To hard-liners, though, he was a dupe, seduced by the West into a deal that the Americans would never live up to.

Now, with the nuclear deal on the brink of collapse, with the Trump administration reimposing crushing sanctions on Iran, and Tehran threatening to restart elements of its nuclear program, Mr. Zarif is coming under renewed fire not only from hard-liners in Tehran but also from Washington. White House officials say that President Trump has requested sanctions specifically against the Iranian foreign minister, stirring debate in both countries about the administration’s intentions.

Hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, argue that Mr. Zarif’s American affectations are what make him dangerous. Mr. Zarif and his patron, President Hassan Rouhani, are “polished front men for the ayatollah’s international con artistry,” Mr. Pompeo has said, suggesting that the foreign minister uses his flawless, idiomatic American English as a ruse to mask his allegiance to the hard-line agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But critics shoot back that threatening Iran’s top diplomat makes no sense, given Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that his ultimate goal is to restart negotiations with Iran. Cutting off the intermediary for any such talks, the critics say, may ultimately leave the administration no choice other than confrontation.

“It just makes it harder or impossible for the Iranians to choose some kind of diplomacy,” said Jeff Prescott, a former senior director for Iran on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama.

In an extensive email exchange, Mr. Zarif said he felt little personal risk from American sanctions. “Everyone who knows me knows that I or my family do not own any property outside Iran,” he wrote. “I personally do not even have a bank account outside Iran. Iran is my entire life and my sole commitment. So I have no personal problem with possible sanctions.”

Washington, Mr. Zarif argued, would only be hurting itself by cutting him off.

“The only impact — and possibly the sole objective — of a possible designation would be to limit my ability to communicate. And I doubt that would serve anyone,” he wrote. “Certainly it would limit the possibility of informed decision-making in Washington.”

As for the allegation of “con artistry,” Mr. Zarif said that he never asked the Americans to trust him and he never trusted them either, least of all during the negotiations of the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157458888_eee3e2ce-a8e3-4a13-be22-3ef67330ed89-articleLarge He Enjoys American Coffee and Restaurants. Is He a Credible Negotiator for Iran? Zarif, Mohammad Javad United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Pompeo, Mike Nuclear Weapons Khamenei, Ali Gerecht, Reuel Marc Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R

Mr. Zarif with John Kerry, the secretary of state at the time, in New York in 2016. Mr. Zarif was an on-and-off resident of the United States for nearly 30 years.CreditBryan R. Smith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Contrary to public statements by its detractors on all sides, JCPOA was not built on trust,” Mr. Zarif wrote in the email, referring to the agreement. “It was indeed based on explicit recognition of mutual mistrust. That is why it is so long and detailed.”

Mr. Zarif’s status in Tehran has already suffered severely with the waning fortunes of the nuclear deal. After pulling out of the agreement last year, the Trump administration in May tightened its sanctions to penalize anyone in the world who seeks to buy Iranian oil, slashing Iranian exports and plunging the economy into a tailspin.

Mr. Khamenei has said without naming Mr. Zarif or Mr. Rouhani that those who persuaded him to negotiate with Washington had made a grave mistake.

Other hard-liners have argued that Mr. Zarif should now resign, face impeachment, or be put on trial for the crime of leading Iran into an agreement that dismantled years of nuclear research and investment for no ultimate benefit.

“Mr. Zarif and his government put all their eggs in the basket of foreign policy and the nuclear deal,” Abdul Reza Davari, a conservative adviser to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Iranian president, said in a telephone interview from Tehran. “It has been a spectacular failure, and now they are hanging on life support, hoping a change of administration in the U.S. would save them.”

Iranian officials have often said that they have sought only peaceful uses of nuclear power, not a nuclear weapon — a claim widely disputed in the West. But with the 2015 deal now all but dead, many conservatives in Tehran are pushing for Iran to resume its programs for the enrichment of nuclear material “as a sign of strength,” Mr. Davari said.

Some in his hard-line faction remain open to negotiations with Mr. Trump, Mr. Davari said, but no longer through Mr. Zarif.

Mr. Zarif briefly resigned in February after conservatives in the Iranian military failed to include him in a visit to Tehran by the president of Syria. (Mr. Khamenei interceded to keep Mr. Zarif at work.)

[By email, Mohammad Javad Zarif discusses his hopes for the nuclear deal, as well as his own future.]

Iranian moderates, while defending Mr. Zarif, are also preparing political eulogies. “We have never had a foreign minister like Zarif in the history of Iran,” said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent reformist politician. “What he achieved with the nuclear deal — gaining the trust of both Americans and Mr. Khamenei — was nothing short of a miracle.”

At the top echelons of the Iranian political system, where knowledge of the United States is generally shallow and suspicions run deep, Mr. Zarif stands out for his ease among Americans. He came to the United States at 17 to attend college, and was an undergraduate at San Francisco State University in 1979 when the Islamic revolution broke out in Tehran. (He pitched in by helping lead a group of student revolutionaries who took over the Iranian consulate in San Francisco.)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called Mr. Zarif a “polished front man” for the hard-line policies of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.CreditPool photo by Jacquelyn Martin

He remained in the United States, first as a student and then as a diplomat, for much of his adult life. With his command of American English, he comes off to Westerners as urbane and at times even wry.

“Seriously?” he quipped this week by Twitter, quoting a White House news release claiming that “even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

His friends say he prefers American coffee to the typical Iranian tea, and he also enjoys dining out in American restaurants — although he is careful never to allow himself to be photographed in a setting where alcohol is visible, which the hard-liners could use against him at home in Tehran.

American supporters of imposing sanctions on Mr. Zarif argue that his effectiveness at passing for one of their countrymen is what makes him so dangerous. It helps him hide the fundamentally anti-American and expansionist character of the government he serves, they say.

“I would call him the whitewasher-in-chief,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a former C.I.A. official who studies Iran. “Zarif has gotten away, almost, with murder, because he has been depicted as something he is not — a moderate — when he is totally loyal to the Supreme Leader and totally loyal to the revolution.”

Mr. Gerecht added that the sanctions would send a message to the American public about Mr. Zarif and his patron, Mr. Rouhani.

“It is important to the narrative, to dispatch the notion that Zarif or Rouhani is part of this ‘moderate’ wing that will bring about normalcy,” Mr. Gerecht said.

But Mr. Zarif, in an email, said that the issue of the moment was not about him or the Iranian government, but about the nuclear deal, which he said was never intended to “resolve all our differences.”

“It was negotiated by all with open eyes about what as possible and what was not,” he wrote, and it “remains the best POSSIBLE agreement on the nuclear issue.”

As for the hard-liners who deride him as “Mamal Amricayi”— the make-believe American — Mr. Zarif said he had never seen the movie.

“But I do not mind if people have a good laugh about me,” he added. “That is another way of making myself useful!”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

As the Nuclear Deal Totters, So Do the Fortunes of Iran’s Foreign Minister

Iranian hard-liners have long mocked their foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as the make-believe American, after a character in a comic Iranian movie who puts on an accent, wardrobe and lifestyle to live out a fantasy of American life.

A resident of the United States on and off for nearly 30 years, Mr. Zarif was the Iranian most closely associated with the negotiation of the 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sweeping economic sanctions.

To ordinary Iranians and reformists, that made him a hero. To hard-liners, though, he was a dupe, seduced by the West into a deal that the Americans would never live up to.

Now, with the nuclear deal on the brink of collapse, with the Trump administration reimposing crushing sanctions on Iran, and Tehran threatening to restart elements of its nuclear program, Mr. Zarif is coming under renewed fire not only from hard-liners in Tehran but also from Washington. White House officials say that President Trump has requested sanctions specifically against the Iranian foreign minister, stirring debate in both countries about the administration’s intentions.

Hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, argue that Mr. Zarif’s American affectations are what make him dangerous. Mr. Zarif and his patron, President Hassan Rouhani, are “polished front men for the ayatollah’s international con artistry,” Mr. Pompeo has said, suggesting that the foreign minister uses his flawless, idiomatic American English as a ruse to mask his allegiance to the hard-line agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But critics shoot back that threatening Iran’s top diplomat makes no sense, given Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that his ultimate goal is to restart negotiations with Iran. Cutting off the intermediary for any such talks, the critics say, may ultimately leave the administration no choice other than confrontation.

“It just makes it harder or impossible for the Iranians to choose some kind of diplomacy,” said Jeff Prescott, a former senior director for Iran on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama.

In an extensive email exchange, Mr. Zarif said he felt little personal risk from American sanctions. “Everyone who knows me knows that I or my family do not own any property outside Iran,” he wrote. “I personally do not even have a bank account outside Iran. Iran is my entire life and my sole commitment. So I have no personal problem with possible sanctions.”

Washington, Mr. Zarif argued, would only be hurting itself by cutting him off.

“The only impact — and possibly the sole objective — of a possible designation would be to limit my ability to communicate. And I doubt that would serve anyone,” he wrote. “Certainly it would limit the possibility of informed decision-making in Washington.”

As for the allegation of “con artistry,” Mr. Zarif said that he never asked the Americans to trust him and he never trusted them either, least of all during the negotiations of the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157458888_eee3e2ce-a8e3-4a13-be22-3ef67330ed89-articleLarge As the Nuclear Deal Totters, So Do the Fortunes of Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif, Mohammad Javad United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Pompeo, Mike Nuclear Weapons Khamenei, Ali Gerecht, Reuel Marc Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R

Mr. Zarif with John Kerry, the secretary of state at the time, in New York in 2016. Mr. Zarif was an on-and-off resident of the United States for nearly 30 years.CreditBryan R. Smith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Contrary to public statements by its detractors on all sides, JCPOA was not built on trust,” Mr. Zarif wrote in the email, referring to the agreement. “It was indeed based on explicit recognition of mutual mistrust. That is why it is so long and detailed.”

Mr. Zarif’s status in Tehran has already suffered severely with the waning fortunes of the nuclear deal. After pulling out of the agreement last year, the Trump administration in May tightened its sanctions to penalize anyone in the world who seeks to buy Iranian oil, slashing Iranian exports and plunging the economy into a tailspin.

Mr. Khamenei has said without naming Mr. Zarif or Mr. Rouhani that those who persuaded him to negotiate with Washington had made a grave mistake.

Other hard-liners have argued that Mr. Zarif should now resign, face impeachment, or be put on trial for the crime of leading Iran into an agreement that dismantled years of nuclear research and investment for no ultimate benefit.

“Mr. Zarif and his government put all their eggs in the basket of foreign policy and the nuclear deal,” Abdul Reza Davari, a conservative adviser to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Iranian president, said in a telephone interview from Tehran. “It has been a spectacular failure, and now they are hanging on life support, hoping a change of administration in the U.S. would save them.”

Iranian officials have often said that they have sought only peaceful uses of nuclear power, not a nuclear weapon — a claim widely disputed in the West. But with the 2015 deal now all but dead, many conservatives in Tehran are pushing for Iran to resume its programs for the enrichment of nuclear material “as a sign of strength,” Mr. Davari said.

Some in his hard-line faction remain open to negotiations with Mr. Trump, Mr. Davari said, but no longer through Mr. Zarif.

Mr. Zarif briefly resigned in February after conservatives in the Iranian military failed to include him in a visit to Tehran by the president of Syria. (Mr. Khamenei interceded to keep Mr. Zarif at work.)

[By email, Mohammad Javad Zarif discusses his hopes for the nuclear deal, as well as his own future.]

Iranian moderates, while defending Mr. Zarif, are also preparing political eulogies. “We have never had a foreign minister like Zarif in the history of Iran,” said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent reformist politician. “What he achieved with the nuclear deal — gaining the trust of both Americans and Mr. Khamenei — was nothing short of a miracle.”

At the top echelons of the Iranian political system, where knowledge of the United States is generally shallow and suspicions run deep, Mr. Zarif stands out for his ease among Americans. He came to the United States at 17 to attend college, and was an undergraduate at San Francisco State University in 1979 when the Islamic revolution broke out in Tehran. (He pitched in by helping lead a group of student revolutionaries who took over the Iranian consulate in San Francisco.)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called Mr. Zarif a “polished front man” for the hard-line policies of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.CreditPool photo by Jacquelyn Martin

He remained in the United States, first as a student and then as a diplomat, for much of his adult life. With his command of American English, he comes off to Westerners as urbane and at times even wry.

“Seriously?” he quipped this week by Twitter, quoting a White House news release claiming that “even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

His friends say he prefers American coffee to the typical Iranian tea, and he also enjoys dining out in American restaurants — although he is careful never to allow himself to be photographed in a setting where alcohol is visible, which the hard-liners could use against him at home in Tehran.

American supporters of imposing sanctions on Mr. Zarif argue that his effectiveness at passing for one of their countrymen is what makes him so dangerous. It helps him hide the fundamentally anti-American and expansionist character of the government he serves, they say.

“I would call him the whitewasher-in-chief,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a former C.I.A. official who studies Iran. “Zarif has gotten away, almost, with murder, because he has been depicted as something he is not — a moderate — when he is totally loyal to the Supreme Leader and totally loyal to the revolution.”

Mr. Gerecht added that the sanctions would send a message to the American public about Mr. Zarif and his patron, Mr. Rouhani.

“It is important to the narrative, to dispatch the notion that Zarif or Rouhani is part of this ‘moderate’ wing that will bring about normalcy,” Mr. Gerecht said.

But Mr. Zarif, in an email, said that the issue of the moment was not about him or the Iranian government, but about the nuclear deal, which he said was never intended to “resolve all our differences.”

“It was negotiated by all with open eyes about what as possible and what was not,” he wrote, and it “remains the best POSSIBLE agreement on the nuclear issue.”

As for the hard-liners who deride him as “Mamal Amricayi”— the make-believe American — Mr. Zarif said he had never seen the movie.

“But I do not mind if people have a good laugh about me,” he added. “That is another way of making myself useful!”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

He Enjoys American Coffee and Restaurants. Is He a Credible Negotiator for Iran?

Iranian hard-liners have long mocked their foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as the make-believe American, after a character in a comic Iranian movie who puts on an accent, wardrobe and lifestyle to live out a fantasy of American life.

A resident of the United States on and off for nearly 30 years, Mr. Zarif was the Iranian most closely associated with the negotiation of the 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sweeping economic sanctions.

To ordinary Iranians and reformists, that made him a hero. To hard-liners, though, he was a dupe, seduced by the West into a deal that the Americans would never live up to.

Now, with the nuclear deal on the brink of collapse, with the Trump administration reimposing crushing sanctions on Iran, and Tehran threatening to restart elements of its nuclear program, Mr. Zarif is coming under renewed fire not only from hard-liners in Tehran but also from Washington. White House officials say that President Trump has requested sanctions specifically against the Iranian foreign minister, stirring debate in both countries about the administration’s intentions.

Hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, argue that Mr. Zarif’s American affectations are what make him dangerous. Mr. Zarif and his patron, President Hassan Rouhani, are “polished front men for the ayatollah’s international con artistry,” Mr. Pompeo has said, suggesting that the foreign minister uses his flawless, idiomatic American English as a ruse to mask his allegiance to the hard-line agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But critics shoot back that threatening Iran’s top diplomat makes no sense, given Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that his ultimate goal is to restart negotiations with Iran. Cutting off the intermediary for any such talks, the critics say, may ultimately leave the administration no choice other than confrontation.

“It just makes it harder or impossible for the Iranians to choose some kind of diplomacy,” said Jeff Prescott, a former senior director for Iran on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama.

In an extensive email exchange, Mr. Zarif said he felt little personal risk from American sanctions. “Everyone who knows me knows that I or my family do not own any property outside Iran,” he wrote. “I personally do not even have a bank account outside Iran. Iran is my entire life and my sole commitment. So I have no personal problem with possible sanctions.”

Washington, Mr. Zarif argued, would only be hurting itself by cutting him off.

“The only impact — and possibly the sole objective — of a possible designation would be to limit my ability to communicate. And I doubt that would serve anyone,” he wrote. “Certainly it would limit the possibility of informed decision-making in Washington.”

As for the allegation of “con artistry,” Mr. Zarif said that he never asked the Americans to trust him and he never trusted them either, least of all during the negotiations of the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157458888_eee3e2ce-a8e3-4a13-be22-3ef67330ed89-articleLarge He Enjoys American Coffee and Restaurants. Is He a Credible Negotiator for Iran? Zarif, Mohammad Javad United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Pompeo, Mike Nuclear Weapons Khamenei, Ali Gerecht, Reuel Marc Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R

Mr. Zarif with John Kerry, the secretary of state at the time, in New York in 2016. Mr. Zarif was an on-and-off resident of the United States for nearly 30 years.CreditBryan R. Smith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Contrary to public statements by its detractors on all sides, JCPOA was not built on trust,” Mr. Zarif wrote in the email, referring to the agreement. “It was indeed based on explicit recognition of mutual mistrust. That is why it is so long and detailed.”

Mr. Zarif’s status in Tehran has already suffered severely with the waning fortunes of the nuclear deal. After pulling out of the agreement last year, the Trump administration in May tightened its sanctions to penalize anyone in the world who seeks to buy Iranian oil, slashing Iranian exports and plunging the economy into a tailspin.

Mr. Khamenei has said without naming Mr. Zarif or Mr. Rouhani that those who persuaded him to negotiate with Washington had made a grave mistake.

Other hard-liners have argued that Mr. Zarif should now resign, face impeachment, or be put on trial for the crime of leading Iran into an agreement that dismantled years of nuclear research and investment for no ultimate benefit.

“Mr. Zarif and his government put all their eggs in the basket of foreign policy and the nuclear deal,” Abdul Reza Davari, a conservative adviser to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Iranian president, said in a telephone interview from Tehran. “It has been a spectacular failure, and now they are hanging on life support, hoping a change of administration in the U.S. would save them.”

Iranian officials have often said that they have sought only peaceful uses of nuclear power, not a nuclear weapon — a claim widely disputed in the West. But with the 2015 deal now all but dead, many conservatives in Tehran are pushing for Iran to resume its programs for the enrichment of nuclear material “as a sign of strength,” Mr. Davari said.

Some in his hard-line faction remain open to negotiations with Mr. Trump, Mr. Davari said, but no longer through Mr. Zarif.

Mr. Zarif briefly resigned in February after conservatives in the Iranian military failed to include him in a visit to Tehran by the president of Syria. (Mr. Khamenei interceded to keep Mr. Zarif at work.)

[By email, Mohammad Javad Zarif discusses his hopes for the nuclear deal, as well as his own future.]

Iranian moderates, while defending Mr. Zarif, are also preparing political eulogies. “We have never had a foreign minister like Zarif in the history of Iran,” said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent reformist politician. “What he achieved with the nuclear deal — gaining the trust of both Americans and Mr. Khamenei — was nothing short of a miracle.”

At the top echelons of the Iranian political system, where knowledge of the United States is generally shallow and suspicions run deep, Mr. Zarif stands out for his ease among Americans. He came to the United States at 17 to attend college, and was an undergraduate at San Francisco State University in 1979 when the Islamic revolution broke out in Tehran. (He pitched in by helping lead a group of student revolutionaries who took over the Iranian consulate in San Francisco.)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called Mr. Zarif a “polished front man” for the hard-line policies of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.CreditPool photo by Jacquelyn Martin

He remained in the United States, first as a student and then as a diplomat, for much of his adult life. With his command of American English, he comes off to Westerners as urbane and at times even wry.

“Seriously?” he quipped this week by Twitter, quoting a White House news release claiming that “even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

His friends say he prefers American coffee to the typical Iranian tea, and he also enjoys dining out in American restaurants — although he is careful never to allow himself to be photographed in a setting where alcohol is visible, which the hard-liners could use against him at home in Tehran.

American supporters of imposing sanctions on Mr. Zarif argue that his effectiveness at passing for one of their countrymen is what makes him so dangerous. It helps him hide the fundamentally anti-American and expansionist character of the government he serves, they say.

“I would call him the whitewasher-in-chief,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a former C.I.A. official who studies Iran. “Zarif has gotten away, almost, with murder, because he has been depicted as something he is not — a moderate — when he is totally loyal to the Supreme Leader and totally loyal to the revolution.”

Mr. Gerecht added that the sanctions would send a message to the American public about Mr. Zarif and his patron, Mr. Rouhani.

“It is important to the narrative, to dispatch the notion that Zarif or Rouhani is part of this ‘moderate’ wing that will bring about normalcy,” Mr. Gerecht said.

But Mr. Zarif, in an email, said that the issue of the moment was not about him or the Iranian government, but about the nuclear deal, which he said was never intended to “resolve all our differences.”

“It was negotiated by all with open eyes about what as possible and what was not,” he wrote, and it “remains the best POSSIBLE agreement on the nuclear issue.”

As for the hard-liners who deride him as “Mamal Amricayi”— the make-believe American — Mr. Zarif said he had never seen the movie.

“But I do not mind if people have a good laugh about me,” he added. “That is another way of making myself useful!”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Officials Are Split Over Approach to North Korea Talks

WASHINGTON — As President Trump reveled in his historic weekend stroll into North Korea, administration officials were sharply at odds on Monday over what demands to make of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, while preparing to restart negotiations on a nuclear deal.

Pushing an internal debate into the open, John R. Bolton, the national security adviser and the most prominent hawk in the administration, reacted angrily to a report in The New York Times about the possibility of a deal to effectively freeze North Korea’s nuclear activity in return for American concessions.

Some officials are considering a freeze as a first step toward a more comprehensive agreement for Mr. Kim to give up his entire nuclear program. Mr. Bolton has long insisted that the North Koreans dismantle their nuclear program and give up their entire arsenal of warheads before getting any rewards.

“This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the president,” Mr. Bolton wrote on Twitter. “There should be consequences.”

But some senior administration officials have been discussing the idea of an incremental approach under which North Korea would first close down its nuclear facilities to prevent it from making new fissile material, in effect freezing its program but leaving its existing arsenal in place.

In exchange, the Americans would make some concessions that would help improve the living conditions in North Korea, which is under heavy sanctions, or strengthen relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Among those considering such ideas are senior diplomats, say people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Trump, eager to burnish his self-constructed image as a dealmaker in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, appears open to embracing a step-by-step process. Mr. Trump did not publicly mention full denuclearization during his hour at the border between the two Koreas on Sunday or after talks with South Korean leaders.

In April, during a visit to the White House by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Mr. Trump signaled that gradual concessions by both sides might be necessary.

“There are various smaller deals that could happen,” he said. “You could work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid of nuclear weapons.”

American officials involved in North Korea policy assert, even in private, that the administration’s long-run goal has been consistent all along: to have Mr. Kim, with whom Mr. Trump met at the border on Sunday, give up all of his nuclear weapons and the ability to build more.

In the short run, Mr. Trump’s public comments — and the showmanship of going to the Demilitarized Zone and stepping over a low concrete barrier to walk with Mr. Kim on his soil — is another sign of the limited influence of Mr. Trump’s most hard-line advisers. Mr. Bolton was not at the meeting in North Korea but on a scheduled trip to Mongolia. Last month, Mr. Trump at the last minute rejected Mr. Bolton’s urging for a military strike on Iran.

On Monday, after Mr. Bolton made his statement, Mr. Trump spoke effusively on Twitter about his weekend trip to the Koreas without disputing the possibility of a step-by-step approach. “While there, it was great to call on Chairman Kim of North Korea to have our very well covered meeting,” he tweeted. “Good things can happen for all!”

Mr. Trump has given Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responsibility for restarting negotiations, which had stalled after a failed February summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim.

It was the second time the two had met, and Mr. Trump at the time had insisted that Mr. Kim give up his entire nuclear program, including an estimated 30 to 60 warheads, in exchange for sanctions relief.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157241079_ca340044-8697-4dd4-ae34-82c45ea8497e-articleLarge Trump Officials Are Split Over Approach to North Korea Talks Yongbyon (North Korea) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike Obama, Barack Nuclear Weapons North Korea Korean Demilitarized Zone Kim Jong-un Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R Arms Control and Limitation and Disarmament

President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, met Sunday on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo had both urged the president to settle for nothing less than a grand deal, but Mr. Pompeo now appears open to considering a gradual approach.

The State Department declined to comment on Monday. On Sunday night, Stephen E. Biegun, the United States’ special representative for North Korea, told The Times that its account of the ideas being discussed in the administration were “pure speculation” and that his team was “not preparing any new proposal currently.”

Some analysts said any approach must start with the United States and North Korea committing to a common definition of denuclearization. Without an ironclad definition, there is greater risk the North Koreans could back out of an interim deal, as they have done under previous American administrations, they said.

“There’s a myriad of ways that North Korea can pull it back,” said Jung H. Pak, a former C.I.A. analyst who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

For months after the meeting in Hanoi, there was no senior-level contact between Washington and Pyongyang, then Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim exchanged letters.

That paved the way for Mr. Trump’s Twitter post from the G20 summit in Japan on Saturday, in which he said he would like to see Mr. Kim during a scheduled visit Sunday to the Demilitarized Zone, on the border between the two Koreas, to shake Mr. Kim’s hand and to “say Hello(?)!”

Mr. Pompeo and other officials scrambled to organize for a potential meeting. Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pompeo to accompany him to the heavily guarded border village of Panmunjom, along with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his eldest daughter and his son-in-law. Mr. Bolton notably flew to Mongolia instead. “Delighted to be in Ulaanbaatar,” he said on Twitter above a photograph of him smiling with the country’s secretary of state, Davaasuren Damdinsuren.

Though Mr. Pompeo is often aligned with Mr. Bolton on an aggressive approach to national security issues — Mr. Pompeo has also advocated a strike on Iran — the secretary of state is acutely attuned to Mr. Trump’s desires and has tried diplomacy with the North Koreans when commanded by the president.

In interviews and talks in recent weeks, Mr. Pompeo has not mentioned his earlier insistence that North Koreans must first turn over a complete list of nuclear assets, which some experts say is a necessary first step to establishing baselines for full denuclearization.

Administration officials say Mr. Biegun has been trying to come up with creative ways to get North Korea to at least agree with the Americans on a common definition of denuclearization and to start the process of shutting down its program. American intelligence officials have assessed that Mr. Kim will probably never give up all of his nuclear weapons.

That is where serious consideration of a step-by-step process comes in.

In January, during a speech at Stanford University, Mr. Biegun signaled that American negotiators might be willing to push off the demand for an inventory of nuclear assets and engage in a more gradual process. “Sequencing always confounds negotiators,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s grand-deal gambit in Hanoi upended that thinking. But that summit’s failure has left the door open for other ideas. Negotiators are back at a new starting line, essentially the same place they were after Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim’s first summit, held in Singapore in June 2018.

Doing a yearslong gradual process with a freeze on activity as the initial goal would amount to tacit acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear state. But American officials in both the White House and State Department say sanctions would not be lifted until North Korea completely gets rid of its nuclear weapons and its program. That includes the five sets of sanctions imposed by the Obama and Trump administrations starting in 2016 that North Korean officials say they most want the United States to cancel. In Hanoi, Mr. Kim made this demand of Mr. Trump.

For now, American officials might consider allowing more robust humanitarian aid to enter North Korea or some limited economic exchanges between the North and South, which under Mr. Moon has been pushing forward on an inter-Korean peace process. The two sides could also open interests offices in each other’s capitals.

In the approaches under consideration, those concessions would happen only if North Korea agrees to halt all its uranium enrichment — not only at Yongbyon, the central site of its nuclear program, but also at Kangson, another site known to American officials.

American intelligence officials also suspect there may be a third site, say experts on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Split Emerges in Administration Over Approach to North Korea Talks

WASHINGTON — As President Trump reveled in his historic weekend stroll into North Korea, administration officials were sharply at odds on Monday over what demands to make of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, as they prepared to restart negotiations on a nuclear deal.

Pushing an internal debate into the open, John R. Bolton, the national security adviser and the most prominent hawk in the administration, reacted angrily to a report in The New York Times about the possibility of a deal to effectively freeze North Korea’s nuclear activity in return for American concessions.

Officials are considering a freeze as a first step toward a more comprehensive agreement for Mr. Kim to give up his entire nuclear program. Mr. Bolton has long insisted that the North Koreans completely dismantle their nuclear program and give up their entire arsenal of warheads before getting any rewards.

“This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the president,” Mr. Bolton wrote on Twitter. “There should be consequences.”

But some senior administration officials have been discussing the idea of an incremental approach under which North Korea would first close down its nuclear facilities to prevent it from making new fissile material, in effect freezing its program but leaving its existing arsenal in place.

In exchange, the Americans would make some concessions that would help improve the living conditions of North Korea, which is under heavy sanctions, or strengthen relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Among those considering such ideas are senior diplomats, say people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Trump, eager to burnish his self-constructed image as a dealmaker in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, appears open to embracing a step-by-step process. Mr. Trump did not publicly mention full denuclearization during his hour at the border between the two Koreas on Sunday or after talks with South Korean leaders.

In April, during a visit to the White House by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Mr. Trump signaled that gradual concessions by both sides might be necessary.

“There are various smaller deals that could happen,” he said. “You could work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid of nuclear weapons.”

American officials involved in North Korea policy assert, even in private, that the administration’s long-run goal has been consistent all along: to have Mr. Kim, with whom Mr. Trump met at the border on Sunday, give up all of his nuclear weapons and the ability to build more.

In the short run, Mr. Trump’s public comments — and the showmanship of going to the Demilitarized Zone and stepping over a low concrete barrier to walk with Mr. Kim on his soil — is another sign of the limited influence of Mr. Trump’s most hard-line advisers. Mr. Bolton was not at the meeting in North Korea but on a scheduled trip to Mongolia. Last month, Mr. Trump at the last minute rejected Mr. Bolton’s urging for a military strike on Iran.

On Monday, after Mr. Bolton made his statement, Mr. Trump spoke effusively on Twitter about his weekend trip to the Koreas without disputing the possibility of a step-by-step approach. “While there, it was great to call on Chairman Kim of North Korea to have our very well covered meeting,” he tweeted. “Good things can happen for all!”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157241079_ca340044-8697-4dd4-ae34-82c45ea8497e-articleLarge Split Emerges in Administration Over Approach to North Korea Talks Yongbyon (North Korea) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike Obama, Barack Nuclear Weapons North Korea Korean Demilitarized Zone Kim Jong-un Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R Arms Control and Limitation and Disarmament

President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, met Sunday on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Trump has given Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responsibility for restarting negotiations, which had stalled after a failed February summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. It was the second time the two had met, and Mr. Trump at the time had insisted that Mr. Kim give up his entire nuclear program, including an estimated 30 to 60 warheads, in exchange for sanctions relief.

Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo had both urged the president to settle for nothing less than a grand deal, but Mr. Pompeo now appears open to considering a gradual approach.

The State Department declined to comment on Monday. On Sunday evening, Stephen E. Biegun, the United States’ special representative for North Korea, told The Times that its account of the ideas being discussed in the administration were “pure speculation” and that his team was “not preparing any new proposal currently.”

Some analysts said any approach must start with the United States and North Korea committing to a common definition of denuclearization. Without an ironclad definition, there is greater risk the North Koreans could back out of an interim deal, as they have done under previous American administrations, they said. “There’s a myriad of ways that North Korea can pull it back,” said Jung H. Pak, a former C.I.A. analyst who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

For months after the meeting in Hanoi, there was no senior-level contact between Washington and Pyongyang, then Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim exchanged letters. That paved the way for Mr. Trump’s tweet from the G20 summit in Japan on Saturday, in which he said he would like to see Mr. Kim during a scheduled visit Sunday to the Demilitarized Zone, on the border between the two Koreas, to shake Mr. Kim’s hand and to “say Hello(?)!”

Mr. Pompeo and other officials scrambled to organize for a potential meeting. Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pompeo to accompany him to the heavily guarded border village of Panmunjom, along with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his eldest daughter and his son-in-law. Mr. Bolton notably flew to Mongolia instead. “Delighted to be in Ulaanbaatar,” he said on Twitter above a photograph of him smiling with the country’s secretary of state, Davaasuren Damdinsuren.

Though Mr. Pompeo is often aligned with Mr. Bolton on an aggressive approach to national security issues — Mr. Pompeo has also advocated a strike on Iran — the secretary of state is acutely attuned to Mr. Trump’s desires and has tried diplomacy with the North Koreans when commanded by the president.

In interviews and talks in recent weeks, Mr. Pompeo has not mentioned his earlier insistence that North Koreans must first turn over a complete list of nuclear assets, which some experts say is a necessary first step to establishing baselines for full denuclearization.

Administration officials say Mr. Biegun has been trying to come up with creative ways to get North Korea to at least agree with the Americans on a common definition of denuclearization and to start the process of shutting down its program. American intelligence officials have assessed that Mr. Kim will most likely never give up all his nuclear weapons.

That is where serious consideration of a step-by-step process comes in.

In January, during a speech at Stanford University, Mr. Biegun signaled that American negotiators might be willing to push off the demand for an inventory of nuclear assets and engage in a more gradual process. “Sequencing always confounds negotiators,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s grand-deal gambit in Hanoi upended that thinking. But that summit’s failure has left the door open for other ideas. Negotiators are back at a new starting line, essentially the same place they were after Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim’s first summit, held in Singapore in June 2018.

Doing a yearslong gradual process with a freeze on activity as the initial goal would amount to tacit acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear state. But American officials in both the White House and State Department say sanctions would not be lifted until North Korea completely gets rid of its nuclear weapons and its program. That includes the five sets of sanctions imposed by the Obama and Trump administrations starting in 2016 that North Korean officials say they most want the United States to cancel. In Hanoi, Mr. Kim made this demand of Mr. Trump.

For now, American officials might consider allowing more robust humanitarian aid to enter North Korea or some limited economic exchanges between the North and South, which under Mr. Moon has been pushing forward on an inter-Korean peace process. The two sides could also open interests offices in each other’s capitals.

In the approaches under consideration, those concessions would only happen, though, if North Korea agrees to halt all its uranium enrichment — not only at Yongbyon, the central site of its nuclear program, but also at Kangson, another site known to American officials. American intelligence officials also suspect there may be a third site, say experts on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Adding to Tensions

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Monday that he was imposing new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation’s leaders and further squeezing the Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent aggressive acts by Tehran.

The move came on top of actions taken by the administration this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy.

The new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries. But the Iranian officials most likely do not keep substantial assets in international banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions, and any additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal.

The largely symbolic nature of this round of sanctions indicates that the Trump administration is running low on arrows in its economic quiver. It now finds itself in a waiting game, as it watches for whether the latest clampdown on oil exports, which was announced in late April, will force the Iranian leaders to surrender to American demands in exchange for economic relief.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump said the new sanctions order would bar Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and his office from access to the international financial system. The Treasury Department said it was also imposing sanctions on eight Iranian military commanders, including the head of a unit that the Americans say was responsible for shooting down an American drone last Thursday.

Mr. Trump acted at a time of rising concerns over Iran. Those have been prompted in part by declarations from Tehran that it is amassing more nuclear fuel, the latest evidence that Mr. Trump’s withdrawal last year from a nuclear containment deal is pushing Iranian leaders to violate terms they had been abiding by until now.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Mr. Trump said as he sat at his desk in the Oval Office preparing to sign an executive order. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”

While he warned on Monday that his restraint has limits, Mr. Trump has signaled that he prefers tightening sanctions to launching an immediate military strike to try to alter Iran’s behavior and force political change in Tehran.

But critics said the new sanctions would have little substantive effect and could further inflame tensions.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156948135_f3045d89-f378-4add-8295-a7a51cd9d9ee-articleLarge Trump Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Adding to Tensions Trump, Donald J Pompeo, Mike Persian Gulf Khamenei, Ali Iran Gulf of Oman Embargoes and Sanctions Cyberwarfare and Defense Bolton, John R

Iranians at the old grand bazaar on Monday. The inflation rate in Iran has risen to about 50 percent.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

“Symbolic politics at its worst,” said Robert Malley, the president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group and a former senior Obama administration official on the Middle East. “At every level it is illogical, counterproductive or useless.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration would add Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and its top negotiator on the nuclear deal, to the sanctions list this week. (In his announcement about the sanctions on the supreme leader, Mr. Trump misspoke and said “Ayatollah Khomeini,” who died in 1989, rather than “Khamenei.”)

The inflation rate in Iran has risen to about 50 percent and many Iranians are dissatisfied with the economy, but authoritarian leaders have historically shown they can withstand stress from sanctions for many years. Some Iranian citizens also blame the United States government for the devastation of their economy, and they point to the shortage of critical medicine, even though Trump administration officials say they do not intend to limit humanitarian aid.

Iranian officials could choose to carry out nonfatal attacks on United States or international interests, as they did with the downing of the drone, to try to get the Trump administration to ease sanctions. Iran’s naval commander, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, said on Monday that the military was capable of shooting down other drones that violate Iranian airspace.

Mr. Trump said on Monday that he was willing to negotiate with Iran — “I think Iran, potentially, has a phenomenal future” — but insisted Iranian leaders would have to end their pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as halt uranium enrichment, “fueling of foreign conflicts” and “belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.”

Mr. Trump always emphasizes the need to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, while his hawkish top foreign policy aides, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, say Iran must also make wholesale changes to its policies in the Middle East.

International nuclear experts say Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program and has been adhering to the terms of a landmark nuclear agreement that it reached in 2015 with world powers.

Mr. Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions. Iran said last week it would soon breach some limits on low-grade uranium in the deal, a type of fissile material used in civilian reactors. Iran would still be far from being able to make a nuclear weapon; its announcement appeared intended to pressure European nations to find ways to resume trade with Iran in order to alleviate the impact of American sanctions.

Mr. Trump’s rollout of sanctions and the effort to end all oil exports, along with an insistence by Mr. Pompeo that Tehran meet 12 expansive demands mostly unrelated to the nuclear program, “set a spark to the escalatory cycle we’re seeing today,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, a Middle East expert at RAND Corporation, a research group in California.

“The administration argued maximum pressure would bring Iran to the negotiating table, but instead it brought provocative Iranian actions that are not likely to end without Iran getting something concrete on sanctions relief,” she said. “Talk about wanting to talk is not likely to be enough.”

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ aerospace division, speaking to the news media next to debris from a downed American drone on Friday.CreditMeghdad Madadi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

China and Russia, who also signed the nuclear deal, have joined European nations in opposing the sanctions. European officials are trying to persuade Iran to stay in the agreement and are expected to speak with Mr. Trump about his Iran policy at the Group of 20 summit meeting this week in Japan.

Mr. Trump and his top foreign policy aides say further squeezing Iran will compel its leaders to buckle to demands to limit their nuclear program in ways that go beyond the terms of the 2015 deal, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and opposed by many Republicans, Israel and Arab nations in the Persian Gulf.

Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, said on Twitter that the “U.S.’s claim that it wants negotiations without preconditions while it increases sanctions and pressure is not acceptable.”

If the United States wants more than the 2015 nuclear deal, he said, “it must offer us more than the deal with international guarantees.”

On Monday afternoon, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, told reporters that he had been barred from a closed-door meeting of the Security Council called by the United States. He also said there was no way Iran and the United States could have a dialogue right now.

The imposition of more sanctions could provoke further actions by Iran to add to the crisis that has unfolded since early May in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, analysts say.

American officials have blamed Iran for two separate sets of explosions on six oil tankers around the Strait of Hormuz, saying Iran is trying to increase global oil prices in retaliation for the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Iranian officials have denied responsibility.

The downing of the drone prompted Mr. Trump to order a missile strike on Iranian military sites last Thursday, but he pulled back at the last minute after hours of debate, and instead opted for a cyberattack.

On Monday, Mr. Pompeo met at a palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with King Salman, then had lunch with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the administration has supported despite his suspected role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, and in overseeing an air war that has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. The State Department said Mr. Pompeo talked with the king and the prince about “heightened tensions in the region and the need for stronger maritime security to promote freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.”

Mr. Pompeo then flew to Abu Dhabi to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed over dinner. Mr. Pompeo told the prince that his nation should contribute money and military resources to a maritime security program for ships around the Strait of Hormuz. The Americans are calling it the Sentinel program, and Mr. Pompeo said it was supposed to involve 20 nations in addition to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

“The president is keen that the United States doesn’t bear the cost of this,” Mr. Pompeo told the prince.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Imposes New Economic Sanctions on Iran, Adding to Tensions

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Monday that he was imposing new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation’s leaders and further squeezing the Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent aggressive acts by Tehran.

The move came on top of sanctions imposed by the administration this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy.

The new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries. But the Iranian officials most likely do not keep substantial assets in international banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions, and any additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal.

The largely symbolic nature of this round of sanctions indicates that the Trump administration is running low on arrows in its economic quiver. It now finds itself in a waiting game, as it watches for whether the latest clampdown on oil exports, which was announced in late April, will force the Iranian leaders to surrender to American demands in exchange for economic relief.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump said the new sanctions order would bar Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and his office from access to the international financial system. The Treasury Department said it was also imposing sanctions on eight Iranian military commanders, including the head of a unit that the Americans say was responsible for shooting down an American drone last Thursday.

Mr. Trump acted at a time of rising concerns over Iran. Those have been prompted in part by declarations from Tehran that it is amassing more nuclear fuel, the latest evidence that Mr. Trump’s withdrawal last year from a nuclear containment deal is pushing Iranian leaders to violate terms they had been abiding by until now.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Mr. Trump said as he sat at his desk in the Oval Office preparing to sign an executive order. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”

While he warned on Monday that his restraint has limits, Mr. Trump has signaled that he prefers tightening sanctions to launching an immediate military strike to try to alter Iran’s behavior and force political change in Tehran.

But critics said the new sanctions would have little substantive effect and could further inflame tensions.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156948135_f3045d89-f378-4add-8295-a7a51cd9d9ee-articleLarge Trump Imposes New Economic Sanctions on Iran, Adding to Tensions Trump, Donald J Pompeo, Mike Persian Gulf Khamenei, Ali Iran Gulf of Oman Embargoes and Sanctions Cyberwarfare and Defense Bolton, John R

Iranians at the old grand bazaar on Monday. The inflation rate in Iran has risen to about 50 percent.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

“Symbolic politics at its worst,” said Robert Malley, the president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group and a former senior Obama administration official on the Middle East. “At every level it is illogical, counterproductive or useless.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration would add Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and its top negotiator on the nuclear deal, to the sanctions list this week.

The inflation rate in Iran has risen to about 50 percent and many Iranians are dissatisfied with the economy, but authoritarian leaders have historically shown they can withstand stress from sanctions for many years. Some Iranian citizens also blame the United States government for the devastation of their economy, and they point to the shortage of critical medicine, even though Trump administration officials say they do not intend to limit humanitarian aid.

Iranian officials could choose to carry out nonfatal attacks on United States or international interests, as they did with the downing of the drone, to try to get the Trump administration to ease sanctions. Iran’s naval commander, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, said on Monday that the military was capable of shooting down other drones that violate Iranian airspace.

Mr. Trump said on Monday that he was willing to negotiate with Iran — “I think Iran, potentially, has a phenomenal future” — but insisted Iranian leaders would have to end their pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as halt uranium enrichment, “fueling of foreign conflicts” and “belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.”

Mr. Trump always emphasizes the need to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, while his hawkish top foreign policy aides, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, say Iran must also make wholesale changes to its policies in the Middle East.

International nuclear experts say Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program and has been adhering to the terms of a landmark nuclear agreement that it reached in 2015 with world powers.

Mr. Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions. Iran said last week it would soon breach some limits on low-grade uranium in the deal, a type of fissile material used in civilian reactors. Iran would still be far from being able to make a nuclear weapon; its announcement appeared intended to pressure European nations to find ways to resume trade with Iran in order to alleviate the impact of American sanctions.

Mr. Trump’s rollout of sanctions and the effort to end all oil exports, along with an insistence by Mr. Pompeo that Tehran meet 12 expansive demands mostly unrelated to the nuclear program, “set a spark to the escalatory cycle we’re seeing today,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, a Middle East expert at RAND Corporation, a research group in California.

“The administration argued maximum pressure would bring Iran to the negotiating table, but instead it brought provocative Iranian actions that are not likely to end without Iran getting something concrete on sanctions relief,” she said. “Talk about wanting to talk is not likely to be enough.”

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ aerospace division, speaking to the news media next to debris from a downed American drone on Friday.CreditMeghdad Madadi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

China and Russia, who also signed the nuclear deal, have joined European nations in opposing the sanctions. European officials are trying to persuade Iran to stay in the agreement and are expected to speak with Mr. Trump about his Iran policy at the Group of 20 summit meeting this week in Japan.

Mr. Trump and his top foreign policy aides say further squeezing Iran will compel its leaders to buckle to demands to limit their nuclear program in ways that go beyond the terms of the 2015 deal, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and opposed by many Republicans, Israel and Arab nations in the Persian Gulf.

Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, said on Twitter that the “U.S.’s claim that it wants negotiations without preconditions while it increases sanctions and pressure is not acceptable.”

If the United States wants more than the 2015 nuclear deal, he said, “it must offer us more than the deal with international guarantees.”

On Monday afternoon, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, told reporters that he had been barred from a closed-door meeting of the Security Council called by the United States. He also said there was no way Iran and the United States could have a dialogue right now.

The imposition of more sanctions could provoke further actions by Iran to add to the crisis that has unfolded since early May in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, analysts say.

American officials have blamed Iran for two separate sets of explosions on six oil tankers around the Strait of Hormuz, saying Iran is trying to increase global oil prices in retaliation for the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Iranian officials have denied responsibility.

The downing of the drone prompted Mr. Trump to order a missile strike on Iranian military sites last Thursday, but he pulled back at the last minute after hours of debate, and instead opted for a cyberattack.

On Monday, Mr. Pompeo met at a palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with King Salman, then had lunch with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the administration has supported despite his suspected role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, and in overseeing an air war that has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. The State Department said Mr. Pompeo talked with the king and the prince about “heightened tensions in the region and the need for stronger maritime security to promote freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.”

Mr. Pompeo then flew to Abu Dhabi to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed over dinner. Mr. Pompeo told the prince that his nation should contribute money and military resources to a maritime security program for ships around the Strait of Hormuz. The Americans are calling it the Sentinel program, and Mr. Pompeo said it was supposed to involve 20 nations in addition to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

“The president is keen that the United States doesn’t bear the cost of this,” Mr. Pompeo told the prince.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Imposes New Economic Sanctions on Iran

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-sanctions-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Imposes New Economic Sanctions on Iran Trump, Donald J Pompeo, Mike Persian Gulf Khamenei, Ali Iran Gulf of Oman Embargoes and Sanctions Cyberwarfare and Defense Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Monday that he is imposing new sanctions on Iran, after saying for days that he preferred tightening the pressure on a crippled Iranian economy to launching an immediate military strike in retaliation for what American officials have said are recent aggressive acts by Tehran.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Mr. Trump said as he sat at his desk in the Oval Office preparing to sign an executive order. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”

He added that the order will bar Iranian leaders from access to financial instruments. The administration did not immediately elaborate.

The Trump administration already moved this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy, and the new sanctions are expected to be aimed at shutting down additional sources of income with the goal of forcing political change in Tehran.

Mr. Trump and his top foreign policy aides are gambling that continuing the squeeze on Iran will compel its leaders to buckle to demands to limit their nuclear program in ways that go beyond the landmark agreement that major world powers forged with Iran in 2015 — and that Mr. Trump withdrew from last year.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with the rulers of Saudi Arabia on a last-minute trip on Monday, also insists Iran must curb its regional military activity and end support for partner Arab militias.

The imposition of more sanctions could provoke further actions by Iran to add to the crisis that has unfolded since early May in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, analysts say.

American officials have blamed Iran for two separate sets of explosions on six oil tankers around the Strait of Hormuz, saying Iran is trying to show its capabilities and increase global oil prices in retaliation for the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Iranian officials have denied responsibility. Last week, the Iranian military shot down an American drone, though the two nations debate whether the drone was in Iranian territory or over international waters.

The downing of the drone prompted Mr. Trump to order a missile strike on Iranian military sites last Thursday, but he pulled back at the last minute after hours of debate, and instead opted to launch a cyber attack. The most prominent Iran hawks in the administration, Mr. Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, had pushed for the missile strikes.

Mr. Pompeo also advocated in the White House Situation Room on Thursday for continuing sanctions and seeing whether Iran would capitulate to demands as the policy of cutting off all oil revenues, announced in late April, takes full effect.

Iranian leaders say the Trump administration is waging economic warfare on their nation, and analysts say the sanctions campaign, which has been done with no substantial diplomatic outreach, strengthens the standing of hard-line officials in Tehran who argue for taking retaliatory measures. The Trump administration has imposed more than 1,000 specific sanctions on Iran since the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in May 2018, according to the State Department.

The rollout of sanctions and attempt to end all oil exports, along with an insistence by Mr. Pompeo that Tehran meet 12 expansive demands mostly unrelated to the nuclear program, “set a spark to the escalatory cycle we’re seeing today,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, a Middle East expert at RAND Corporation, a research group in California.

“The administration argued maximum pressure would bring Iran to the negotiating table, but instead it brought provocative Iranian actions that are not likely to end without Iran getting something concrete on sanctions relief,” she said. “Talk about wanting to talk is not likely to be enough.”

Some advocates of a hard-line approach to Iran have said Mr. Trump should double down on sanctions and not be baited into doing a military strike, which could backfire by generating support among ordinary Iranians for the anti-American policies of officials in Tehran, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.

“Now is not the time for military action,” Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said on Twitter on Saturday. “Intensify the economic and political pressure. Make clear supreme leader is supreme obstacle to a better future for Iranians.”

On Monday, Mr. Pompeo met at a palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with King Salman, then had lunch with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the administration has supported despite his suspected role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and in overseeing an air war that has killed civilians in Yemen. Mr. Pompeo said on Twitter that he had talked with the king about “heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz.”

Saudi officials said an attack by a drone operated by the Houthi rebels of Yemen killed at least one person and injured seven others on Sunday.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Expected to Announce New Economic Sanctions on Iran

Westlake Legal Group 24DC-SANCTIONS-facebookJumbo Trump Expected to Announce New Economic Sanctions on Iran Trump, Donald J Pompeo, Mike Persian Gulf Khamenei, Ali Iran Gulf of Oman Embargoes and Sanctions Cyberwarfare and Defense Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — President Trump is expected to announce on Monday that he is imposing new sanctions on Iran, after saying for days that he preferred tightening the pressure on a crippled Iranian economy to launching an immediate military strike in retaliation for what American officials have said are recent aggressive acts by Tehran.

The Trump administration already moved this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy, and the new sanctions are expected to be aimed at shutting down additional sources of income with the goal of forcing political change in Tehran.

Mr. Trump and his top foreign policy aides are gambling that continuing the squeeze on Iran will compel its leaders to buckle to demands to limit their nuclear program in ways that go beyond the landmark agreement that major world powers forged with Iran in 2015 — and that Mr. Trump withdrew from last year.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with the rulers of Saudi Arabia on a last-minute trip on Monday, also insists Iran must curb its regional military activity and end support for partner Arab militias.

The imposition of more sanctions could provoke further actions by Iran to add to the crisis that has unfolded since early May in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, analysts say.

American officials have blamed Iran for two separate sets of explosions on six oil tankers around the Strait of Hormuz, saying Iran is trying to show its capabilities and increase global oil prices in retaliation for the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Iranian officials have denied responsibility. Last week, the Iranian military shot down an American drone, though the two nations debate whether the drone was in Iranian territory or over international waters.

The downing of the drone prompted Mr. Trump to order a missile strike on Iranian military sites last Thursday, but he pulled back at the last minute after hours of debate, and instead opted to launch a cyber attack. The most prominent Iran hawks in the administration, Mr. Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, had pushed for the missile strikes.

Mr. Pompeo also advocated in the White House Situation Room on Thursday for continuing sanctions and seeing whether Iran would capitulate to demands as the policy of cutting off all oil revenues, announced in late April, takes full effect.

Iranian leaders say the Trump administration is waging economic warfare on their nation, and analysts say the sanctions campaign, which has been done with no substantial diplomatic outreach, strengthens the standing of hard-line officials in Tehran who argue for taking retaliatory measures. The Trump administration has imposed more than 1,000 specific sanctions on Iran since the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in May 2018, according to the State Department.

The rollout of sanctions and attempt to end all oil exports, along with an insistence by Mr. Pompeo that Tehran meet 12 expansive demands mostly unrelated to the nuclear program, “set a spark to the escalatory cycle we’re seeing today,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, a Middle East expert at RAND Corporation, a research group in California.

“The administration argued maximum pressure would bring Iran to the negotiating table, but instead it brought provocative Iranian actions that are not likely to end without Iran getting something concrete on sanctions relief,” she said. “Talk about wanting to talk is not likely to be enough.”

Some advocates of a hard-line approach to Iran have said Mr. Trump should double down on sanctions and not be baited into doing a military strike, which could backfire by generating support among ordinary Iranians for the anti-American policies of officials in Tehran, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.

“Now is not the time for military action,” Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said on Twitter on Saturday. “Intensify the economic and political pressure. Make clear supreme leader is supreme obstacle to a better future for Iranians.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo, a Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant Trump on Iran

WASHINGTON — In the days leading up to President Trump’s decision on whether to launch a missile strike against Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commanded the stage.

After warning that Mr. Trump was prepared to use force because of Iran’s suspected role in oil tanker attacks, Mr. Pompeo flew to Florida on Monday to strategize with generals at Central Command. Back in Washington, he briefed the foreign minister of the European Union on intelligence. By Thursday, he was pressing the case in the White House Situation Room for a strike.

Mr. Pompeo was steering Mr. Trump toward one of the most consequential actions of the administration. Only at the last minute did the president reverse course and cancel the strike.

The confrontation with Iran has put a spotlight on the extent of Mr. Pompeo’s influence with Mr. Trump. In an administration that churns through cabinet members at a dizzying pace, few have survived as long as Mr. Pompeo — and none have as much stature, a feat he has achieved through an uncanny ability to read the president’s desires and translate them into policy and public messaging. He has also taken advantage of a leadership void at the Defense Department, which has gone nearly six months without a confirmed secretary.

“Trump has created a giant vacuum at the Department of Defense on the civilian side,” said Eric Edelman, a former senior Pentagon official under George W. Bush. “Nature abhors a vacuum — and so does politics.”

But as the debate over the strike showed, the uncompromisingly hawkish views Mr. Pompeo holds on Iran are starting to clash with the perspective of a president deeply skeptical of military entanglements, especially in the Middle East.

Mr. Pompeo is unlikely to publicly signal frustration with the president. Some officials say he would work through the bureaucracy to push his policy goals while on the surface sticking to the role of loyal soldier, if only because he harbors political ambitions for which Mr. Trump’s support would be invaluable. Despite Mr. Pompeo’s insistence that he has “ruled out” a Senate run next year in Kansas, many Trump administration officials expect him to enter the race.

Mr. Pompeo, 55, is as much a diplomat in cultivating Mr. Trump’s inner circle as he is abroad. On Thursday, he appeared alongside Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, at the unveiling of a report on human trafficking. And he speaks regularly with her husband and Mr. Trump’s Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner — on some days more often than with foreign officials, according to a former Trump administration official familiar with his activities.

An evangelical Christian originally from California and former Tea Party congressman supported by the Koch family, Mr. Pompeo has operated for 14 months as Mr. Trump’s right-hand man around the globe, be it in Pyongyang, Riyadh or Brussels — and this week, he will once again be at Mr. Trump’s side at the G-20 summit meeting in Japan, after a stop in India.

Less apparent is how he has recently expanded his shadow role in matters of the military and intelligence, an extension of his experiences as a young Army tank unit captain in Germany and his first administration job as C.I.A. director.

With command of the Pentagon in flux since Jim Mattis resigned in December, Mr. Pompeo has asserted his views much more forcefully in national security debates, current and former officials say.

He is also widening his network in the cabinet. Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, was Mr. Pompeo’s deputy at the agency and is keen to maintain strong relations with him, knowing that that helps keep her in Mr. Trump’s good graces, the officials say. And the incoming acting defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, was a classmate of Mr. Pompeo at West Point. His presence could help bolster Mr. Pompeo’s influence — especially in counterpoint to Mr. Pompeo’s main power rival but frequent policy ally, John R. Bolton, the aggressive national security adviser.

On Iran, Mr. Pompeo has been the public face of the administration’s hawks, and internally he has even argued for policies that generals have deemed too provocative.

“What Pompeo and Bolton have done is drive the president into a corner,” said Wendy R. Sherman, a former top State Department official who helped lead negotiations with Iran in the Obama administration. “The maximum pressure campaign through the sanctions has only strengthened the hard hard-liners in Iran, just like Pompeo and Bolton are the hard hard-liners in our country.”

Prone to bluster and flashes of anger, Mr. Pompeo regularly uses military jargon when speaking of diplomacy — “mission set,” “commander’s intent,” diplomats as “warriors.” He has even described his wife, Susan Pompeo, a frequent traveling companion, as a “force multiplier.”

But Mr. Pompeo’s military leanings and embrace of hard-line policies, especially on Iran, could lead to conflict with Mr. Trump, who insists on keeping to his campaign promise of withdrawing troops from war zones. That contradiction came to the fore on Thursday night, when Mr. Trump rejected the recommendation by Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton to strike Iran for the downing of an American drone earlier that day.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 22dc-pompeo2-articleLarge Pompeo, a Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant Trump on Iran United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike International Relations Espionage and Intelligence Services Defense and Military Forces

A leadership void at the Defense Department has empowered Mr. Pompeo to help steer President Trump.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Still, Mr. Trump voices support for the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions on Iran that Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton have pushed. On Friday, Mr. Trump said on Twitter: “Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

No officials could point to any new sanctions, though the president said on Saturday that he planned to impose “major” additional sanctions on Monday. And Mr. Trump has never addressed the common argument that the reimposition of crippling sanctions last year is what has pushed Iran to lash out. Iran had spent a year working with European nations to try to contain the damage from Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear containment deal that major world powers support.

In the Situation Room on Thursday, Mr. Pompeo argued that in addition to launching a strike, the administration should continue the sanctions campaign and let the recent cut in oil revenues sink in, according to an official familiar with the debate.

“Of all the top administration officials, I think Pompeo is the most secure and also the best at channeling Trump,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who advises Trump administration officials and advocates sanctions on Iran.

But Mr. Pompeo’s militant stand on Iran has led some prominent Trump supporters to push for his ouster because of what they see as a betrayal of Mr. Trump’s “America First” isolationism. On Thursday night, after Mr. Trump called off the strike, Douglas Macgregor, a retired army colonel, told Fox News that Mr. Trump “needs to get rid of the warmongers. He needs to throw these geniuses that want limited strikes out of the Oval Office.”

Mr. Trump has said he reins in Mr. Bolton, but has never mentioned doing the same with Mr. Pompeo.

If staying in Trump’s good graces is one guiding star for Mr. Pompeo, another is his religion. He has been open about the influence of Christian theology on his policies, especially those involving the Middle East.

A telling moment came in March when Mr. Pompeo visited Jerusalem, where he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the threat that Iran poses to Israel. An interviewer from the Christian Broadcasting Network posed a question around a biblical tale about a queen who saved Jews from being massacred by a Persian viceroy: Did Mr. Pompeo think President Trump had been “raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”

“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Mr. Pompeo said, noting with pride “the work that our administration’s done, to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”

One month after starting his job in April 2018, Mr. Pompeo worked with Mr. Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. And he went much further: He announced 12 demands that Iran would have to meet before the United States considered lifting renewed sanctions. Mr. Pompeo has a grand goal of undermining what he calls Iran’s “expansionist foreign policy” — a mission that Mr. Trump never mentions. Iranian leaders see meeting the 12 demands as tantamount to regime suicide, analysts say.

“Most of them are unacceptable to the Iranians,” said R. Nicholas Burns, the top career State Department official under President George W. Bush. “As a result, we’ve had zero contact with them and no ability to influence their behavior.”

Mr. Pompeo’s drive to confront Iran on all fronts has become conflated with the aim of keeping limits on its nuclear program. By contrast, top officials under Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama kept a compartmentalized focus on the nuclear issue, since that was more easily addressed alone.

In April, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton pushed Mr. Trump to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, even though Pentagon and C.I.A. officials opposed the action, saying it could provoke attacks. Mr. Pompeo then announced the end of permission for eight governments, including American allies, to bypass sanctions in buying oil from Iran. Those moves, analysts say, have led to the current crisis.

In recent classified briefings to Congress and in public declarations, Mr. Pompeo has discussed ties between Iran and Al Qaeda. Democratic and some Republican lawmakers say that is a blatant attempt to lay the groundwork for bypassing the need for new congressional war authorization if Mr. Trump decides to strike Iran.

Lawmakers also question Mr. Pompeo’s role in stalled policy on other signature Trump issues, such as Venezuela and North Korea. The North, unlike Iran, actually has a nuclear arsenal.

And lawmakers have grilled Mr. Pompeo on his unwavering support of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who American intelligence officials say was responsible for the killing of the columnist Jamal Khashoggi and who is leading an air war in Yemen that has resulted in a humanitarian disaster. Legislators are also furious that Mr. Pompeo has sought to circumvent the congressional approval process for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Critics say that growing scrutiny of Mr. Pompeo is warranted given his unrelenting attacks on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings when he was a congressman — and given the potential threats to the United States resulting from the administration’s foreign policy.

“I think Pompeo,” Ms. Sherman said, “is very much an architect of where we are now.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com