Tillerson’s confidants in the White House had been warning Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s senior aides for weeks that he would lose his job if he continued to try to fix the nuclear deal with Iran, The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
Curiously, in his 1,132-word farewell address to his former staff at the State Dept., Tillerson did not mention Iran even once. He also never expressed his gratitude to the president for giving him the job. Perhaps the fact that Trump chose to fire him on Twitter (although the secretary had been informed personally late last week) had something to do with this lack of niceties.
A week earlier, the Beacon reported that “as the Trump administration and European allies continue discussions aimed at fixing a range of flaws in the landmark Iran nuclear deal, sources familiar with the progression of these talks say the United States is caving to European demands limiting restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program.”
Apparently, there have been months of intrigue and infighting between the White House and the State Dept., as Tillerson was insisting on trying to save the Iran nuclear deal, and ignoring President Trump’s demands for a major set of amendments by the time the deal was up for re-approval – or he would completely scrap the deal.
“Tillerson staked his position on saving the Iran deal by threading the needle,” a WH source told the Beacon. “He promised the president he could strengthen it enough to be good, but not so much that the Europeans would backlash or the Iranians would bolt.”
Opponents of the Iran deal on Capitol Hill told the Beacon that former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who will replace Tillerson, is the right man to push Trump’s hardline on the Iran deal – a major part of which is to eliminate the deal’s sunset, making the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear effort permanent.
“Hopefully now our European partners understand the president’s resolve and will work with us to permanently prevent Iran from going nuclear,” a senior congressional official familiar with the Iran deal told the Beacon.