US President Donald Trump holds an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Trump Administration Insists no Change in Iran Policy

Just hours after relieving from duty his national security adviser, US President Donald Trump again indicated a desire to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. The confluence of events raised speculation that Bolton’s dismissal was partially connected to a possible decision by President Trump to ease US economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic with a view to jump-starting nuclear negotiations. “Now the president has made clear, he is happy to take a meeting with [Rouhani with] no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin contended. All of this, meanwhile, occurred on the backdrop of Israel’s apparent exposure this week of a previously unknown Iranian nuclear facility located near Isfahan. That, in turn, came on the same day that United Nations nuclear inspectors found traces of uranium at a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran exposed last year following a Mossad operation that recovered thousands of atomic-related documents.

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