In leaked cables, UK ambassador calls Trump’s Iran policy ‘incoherent’
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In leaked cables, UK ambassador calls Trump’s Iran policy ‘incoherent’

Kim Darroch describes White House as ‘dysfunctional, clumsy, inept,’ warns presidency can ‘crash and burn,’ in memos seen by Mail on Sunday tabloid

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, right, and US President Donald Trump, left, walk through the Quadrangle of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for a joint press conference in central London on June 4, 2019. (Frank Augstein/Various Sources/AFP)
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, right, and US President Donald Trump, left, walk through the Quadrangle of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for a joint press conference in central London on June 4, 2019. (Frank Augstein/Various Sources/AFP)

LONDON — Britain’s ambassador in the United States has described President Donald Trump and his administration as “inept” and criticized his policies on Iran as “chaotic,” according to leaked diplomatic memos published by the Mail on Sunday.

Ambassador Kim Darroch reportedly said Trump’s presidency could “crash and burn” and “end in disgrace,” in the cache of secret cables and briefing notes sent back to Britain seen by the newspaper.

“We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” Darroch allegedly wrote in one dispatch.

The paper said the most damning comments by Darroch described Trump, who was received by Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit to Britain just last month, as “insecure” and “incompetent.”

US President Donald Trump, left and Queen Elizabeth II toast, during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, in London, June 3, 2019. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool Photo via AP)

A memo sent following the controversial visit said the president and his team had been “dazzled” by the visit but warned Britain might not remain “flavour of the month” because “this is still the land of America First.”

He reportedly wrote that the “vicious infighting and chaos” inside the White House — widely reported in the US but dismissed by Trump as “fake news” — was “mostly true.”

Darroch is one of Britain’s most experienced diplomats whose posting in Washington D.C. began in January, 2016, prior to Trump winning the presidency.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, left, and British Ambassador Kim Darroch laugh during a speech at the National Economists Club event at the British Embassy in Washington, Friday, October 20, 2017. (AP/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

The Mail on Sunday said the memos, likely leaked by someone within Britain’s sprawling civil service, cover a period beginning in 2017 until the present.

In one of the most recent reported dispatches filed on June 22 Darroch criticized Trump’s fraught foreign policy on Iran, which has prompted fears in global capitals of a military conflict, as “incoherent” and “chaotic.”

“It’s unlikely that US policy on Iran is going to become more coherent any time soon. This is a divided Administration,” he wrote, according to the Mail.

He allegedly said the president’s assertion, that he called off retaliatory missile strikes against the Iranian regime after a US drone was shot down because it risked killing 150 Iranians, “doesn’t stand up.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) shakes hands with his British counterpart Boris Johnson during a meeting in Tehran on December 9, 2017. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

“It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020,” Darroch reportedly stated, referring to the next presidential election.

Britain’s Foreign Office did not dispute the veracity of the memos.

“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country,” a spokeswoman said.

“Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government,” she added, noting “we pay them to be candid”.

“Our team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt that these will withstand such mischievous behavior,” the spokeswoman said of the potential fallout from the leak.

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