Internal problems are arising within the Trump administration over whether to end the nuclear agreement with Iran.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is reportedly upset with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, due to his continued interest in preserving the nuclear deal.
Haley and Tillerson reportedly had a private meeting Wednesday with international leaders over the fate of the nuclear agreement, which was described as a “sign of Haley’s vital role in the Trump administration’s key foreign policy issue.”
The Washington Free Beacon stated in an exclusive report that several sources had told them that Haley believed Tillerson’s efforts to keep the deal were in direct opposition to President Trump’s own agenda.
One unnamed source said Haley “thinks that [Tillerson is] trying to undermine the president and preserve Obama’s Iran legacy, which is true. He thinks she’s running her own foreign policy and auditioning for his job, which is also true.”
One veteran foreign policy official close to the State Department reportedly stated, “The tension between Rex and Nikki is the worst kept secret in the State Department.”
Tillerson has been described as being in an “open war” with President Trump over several foreign policy issues, including Iran, and the Israel-Palestinian situation, and tensions have “spilled into the open” several times recently, even as efforts were made to show unity within the Trump administration to the public.
When the Free Beacon questioned a State Department official Wednesday about the report of division and disagreement between Haley and Tillerson, the report was denied, with the official saying the two are working fine together.
“We are not going to get ahead of any meetings and we are not going to discuss internal U.S. government discussions,” the State Department official said, adding, “The secretary and Ambassador Haley work in close cooperation to address the most pressing national security challenges.”
However, another anonymous source said, “Tillerson is buying what the Europeans are selling and he’s really pushing the president to recertify. The Republicans on Capitol Hill don’t want this to fall into their lap so they’re backing Tillerson for now. Haley is doing what she can to fight for what’s right, but it might not matter if [Secretary of Defense] Mattis backs up Tillerson.”
“President Trump’s going to be totally humiliated by the Iranians if he falls for something this stupid,” the source added.
Those opposed to the the Iran deal are viewing Haley as one of their chief allies, according to the report.
“Haley clearly understands that the status quo is unsustainable,” said one senior congressional official involved in the matter. “She recognizes that the nuclear deal has been a complete disaster for the United States and our allies.”
“Meanwhile, Tillerson continues to pursue his own agenda at State with little regard for the president’s priorities,” the official said. “It’s good to see Haley stand firm as the voice of reason, and urge Tillerson and other Iran sympathizers to end their rogue behavior.”
Foreign policy strategist Richard Goldberg said President Trump’s best move would be to designate Iran as in violation of the deal, then the European governments would have no option but to go along with new U.S. sanctions against Iran.
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