Iran’s president has welcomed Donald Trump’s abrupt dismissal of his national security adviser, saying the US should “put warmongers aside” amid tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Hassan Rouhani’s remarks signalled approval after the US president forced out John Bolton, who had been hawkish on Iran and other global challenges.
Mr Rouhani’s website quoted him as urging the US to “abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy” on Tehran.
Ali Rabiei, a government spokesman, said after a cabinet meeting that Mr Bolton’s dismissal may help the US have a “less biased” attitude towards Iran.
The sudden shake-up in Washington marked the latest departure of a prominent voice of dissent from the president’s inner circle, as Mr Trump has grown less accepting of advice contrary to his instincts.
It comes at a trying moment for Mr Trump on the world stage as the president faces pressing decisions on difficult foreign policy issues.
Tensions between Mr Bolton, the president’s third national security adviser, and other officials have flared in recent months over influence in the president’s orbit and how to manage his desire to negotiate with some of the world’s most unsavoury leaders.
I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
Since joining the administration in spring last year, Mr Bolton has voiced scepticism about the president’s whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea, and had recently become a vocal internal critic of potential talks between Mr Trump and leaders of Iran and Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Mr Bolton also broke with Mr Trump with his vocal condemnation of Russia’s global aggression, and last year he masterminded a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to persuade the president to keep US forces in Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State and Iranian influence in the region.
On Twitter on Tuesday, Mr Trump and Mr Bolton offered opposing accounts on the adviser’s departure.
The president said he told Mr Bolton on Monday night that his services were no longer needed at the White House and Mr Bolton submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning.
I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 10, 2019
Mr Bolton responded in a tweet that he offered to resign on Monday “and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow’”.
Mr Trump explained that he had “disagreed strongly” with many of Mr Bolton’s suggestions as national security adviser, “as did others in the administration”.
Mr Bolton’s letter of resignation, dated Tuesday, was only two sentences long. He wrote: “Dear Mr President, I hereby resign, effective immediately, as assistant to the president for national security affairs. Thank you for having afforded me this opportunity to serve our country.”