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Senior EU official: Trump not in control of Iran policy, should fire Bolton

A top EU diplomat says US President Donald Trump does not seem to be in control of his own administration’s policy towards Iran and that he needs to fire his National Security Advisor John Bolton, an outspoken hawk who directs the White House’s Iran policy.

In an interview with Russia’s RT on Monday, Nathalie Tocci, a special adviser to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said Trump has “actually been led into a very different direction” than the one he might have taken without Bolton’s sway.

“Unfortunately at the moment it seems to me that the US’s Iran policy has a very clear author and that author is not the president of the United States” the EU official said.

She dismissed Trump’s claims that he was not seeking regime change in Iran, saying Bolton has long been pursuing this policy.

Bolton’s position on Iran dates back “way further” than Trump, to “the [ex-president George] Bush administration and even earlier,” said the EU diplomat.

“Perhaps [Trump] should try and change his national security adviser that very clearly has a very different position on this one,” she said.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been rising since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions against Iran, mainly targeting its oil exports, shortly after he hired Bolton.

In early May, Bolton announced the US had begun sending military reinforcements to the Middle East citing alleged threats from Iran.

On the first anniversary of the US’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the deal, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal to take practical measures towards ensuring its interests in the face of the American sanctions.

As the deadline draws near, Iran announced Monday that it will suspend more commitments from June 27 if the other parties to the deal continue to fail to protect Iran against American bans.

The EU diplomat further said that she understands the measures Tehran has taken in reciprocation of Washington’s move to unilaterally scrap that deal.

“If I were Iran, I would probably not stick with the JCPOA because indeed, as I said, the social contract can only hold if both sides live up to the bargain,” she said.

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UN urges support for Iran deal

On Monday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Iran and other signatories to the JCPOA to keep implementing the deal after Tehran announced measures to scale back of its obligations under the accord.

Guterres “encourages Iran to continue to implement its nuclear-related commitments and calls on all participants to abide fully by their respective commitments,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The UN chief also called on “other member states to support the plan’s implementation.”

“The secretary-general urges all parties to refrain from any steps that may lead to further escalation of tensions in the region,” the spokesman added.

Guterres described the nuclear accord as “a major achievement in nuclear non-proliferation and diplomacy,” which has “contributed to regional and international peace and security.”

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