The departure of US national security adviser John Bolton from the White House on Tuesday was a “clear sign” that Washington’s campaign of sanctions against Tehran was failing, an aide to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
“Bolton’s marginalization and his subsequent removal isn’t an accident but a clear sign of the defeat of America’s maximum pressure strategy” against Iran, Hesameddin Ashena tweeted.
“Have no doubt that we have the power to manage the US approach towards Iran and will never back down. The blockade of Iran will break.”
US President Donald Trump earlier on Tuesday announced in a post on Twitter that he had asked Bolton to resign.
Trump had a series of disagreements with the hawkish adviser, most notably on Iran which has been subject to crippling US sanctions since last year.
The sanctions were imposed after Washington unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Bolton and Trump also reportedly clashed over the president’s willingness to consider meeting with Rouhani on the sidelines on the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month.
Earlier on Tuesday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated the president’s willingness to meet his Iranian counterpart while maintaining “maximum pressure” on Tehran.
“Now the president has made clear, he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin told reporters at a White House press conference.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, standing alongside Mnuchin, said “sure” when asked whether Trump could meet Rouhani later this month.
The remarks came just 90 minutes after Trump announced he had removed Bolton as his national security adviser.
But Mnuchin swatted away suggestions that the departure of the hawkish Bolton could signify a more moderate Iran policy, as the US administration announced new terrorist designations against leaders of several organizations with close ties to Tehran.
“You know we’ve done more sanctions on Iran than anybody, and it’s absolutely working,” Mnuchin said. “I would say Secretary Pompeo and myself and the president are completely aligned on our maximum pressure campaign.”
The Iranians have stated repeatedly they will not meet with Trump unless his administration rolls back the sanctions that have devastated Iran’s economy since last year.