Iran’s president urged the U.S. on Wednesday to “put warmongers aside” as tensions roil the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between Washington and Tehran in the wake of the collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.
Hassan Rouhani’s remarks signaled approval of President Donald Trump’s abrupt dismissal of John Bolton as national security adviser, a man routinely pilloried by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as part of a “B Team” that targeted Iran.
Bolton had for years been critical of Tehran and once promised before an Iranian exile group that they’d be celebrating the overthrow of Iran’s government this year.
Bolton’s departure also comes amid speculation about Trump potentially meeting Rouhani during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly this month in New York. Whether such a meeting materializes, however, remains in question, though Iranian comments Wednesday seemed to suggest Tehran would be willing to pin hostilities on the departing Bolton rather than Trump himself.
Rouhani spoke after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, a day that saw all major newspapers in Iran cover Bolton’s departure. The pro-reform Shargh daily newspaper had one large headline that read: “Bolton: A scapegoat for Iran?”
“Americans have to realize that warmongering and warmongers are not to their benefit,” the Iranian president said in televised remarks. “They should not only abandon warmongering but also abandon their maximum pressure policy.”
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