Clashing Views on Iran Reflect a New Balance of Power in the Cabinet

On May 5, the State Department’s high negotiator, Brian H. Hook, spoke yet one more time to his British, French and German counterparts. But they failed to interrupt the impasse on the sundown provisions, which led to Mr. Pompeo’s downbeat message to Mr. Johnson two days later.

For critics like Mr. Dubowitz, who favored fixing the deal fairly than nixing it, the failure to shut the closing gaps means that Mr. Trump was by no means severe about discovering a treatment — that he was merely going by means of the motions earlier than killing it.

Representatives of Mr. Bolton, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mattis performed down any suggestion of divisions. Mr. Bolton, a National Security Council spokesman stated, consulted extensively together with his colleagues and European allies on Iran. Mr. Mattis, a Pentagon spokeswoman stated, gave his confidential recommendation to the president and didn’t really feel reduce out of the debate.

State Department officers stated Mr. Pompeo concurred that the deliberations have been open and thorough. However well mannered his conversations with the Europeans, they stated, he didn’t search an extension to avoid wasting the deal, since the final result was clear final week.

With the Iran deal in the rearview mirror, the subsequent main take a look at for Mr. Trump’s crew will probably be his negotiation with the North Korean chief, Kim Jong-un. Until now, Mr. Pompeo has taken the lead in making ready for that assembly, relying closely on his former workers at the C.I.A. and making little use of the State Department or the National Security Council.

But Mr. Bolton has misplaced no time expressing his views about how the negotiation must be dealt with — he cited Libya’s voluntary surrender of its nuclear program in 2003 as a precedent — and why pulling out of the Iran deal will strengthen, fairly than weaken, Mr. Trump’s hand.

“When you’re serious about eliminating the threat of nuclear proliferation, you have to address the aspects that permit an aspiring nuclear weapons state to get there,” Mr. Bolton stated. “The Iran deal did not do that. A deal that we hope to reach — the president is optimistic we can reach with North Korea — will address all those issues.”

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