The Trump regime led by National Security John Bolton has taken an increasingly hawkish stance against Iran in recent weeks, inflating intelligence on threats posed by Iranian-backed forces and escalating tensions by deploying more firepower to the Gulf.
According to a new report from Politico, the regime's rogue behavior toward Iran has created a rift between Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who had has been left out of key decisions and then forced to support and defend those decisions after the fact.
Bolton's allies reportedly even waged a whisper campaign against Pompeo's hand-picked representative to Iran, Brian Hook.
Further exacerbating the tension is a quiet campaign waged by Bolton’s team against Hook, Pompeo’s point man on Iran. Hook, backed by Pompeo, had sought to extend waivers granted by the Trump administration to eight countries allowing them to continue buying oil from Iran despite U.S. sanctions. That effort included outreach to friendly reporters with whispers that Hook was going weak on Iran and had landed on the wrong side of the debate — intended to shape the internal battle, in which Bolton ultimately prevailed. The State Department announced in early May that it would not grant additional waivers.
I don't know how this will ultimately impact Trump's handling of Iran given that Trump himself is the ultimate wildcard whose whims dictate everything he says and does, but I think we have some idea based Trump's handling of North Korea.
The Trump regime's special representative to North Korea has also been neutered and sidelined in favor of a hands-on approach from Trump himself and that obviously hasn't led to substantive progress in negotiations.
For their part, Iran has almost no reason to engage in negotiations with Trump. Iranian officials took on a significant amount of political risk by negotiating the nuclear agreement with the Obama administration and it ultimately backfired on them when Trump arbitrarily withdrew from the agreement.
I personally think Pompeo will be out as secretary of state by the end of the year and many of Trump's own failings will be laid at his feet. Everyone who works with Trump is eventually humiliated.