Mattis questioning efficacy of Trump’s nuclear deal exit: NYT 

September 17, 2018 - 15:52

In Defense Secretary James Mattis has begun questioning the efficacy of Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal — a move that, again, was made against his advice, the New York Times said on Sunday in a commentary headlined “Fraying Ties With Trump Put Jim Mattis’s Fate in Doubt”.

Mattis has told aides that he has yet to see any difference in Iran’s behavior since Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement between world powers and Tehran.

Mattis famously was pushed out of his job as head of United States Central Command in 2013 because he was viewed as too much of a hawk on Iran policy during the Obama administration. But now, in the Trump administration, Mattis makes his arguments on Iran from the left of National Security advisor John Bolton, his deputy Mira Ricardel and the president himself.

On April 26, 218, Mattis said that after reading the full text of the nuclear deal three times, he was struck by provisions that allow for international verification of Iran’s compliance.

“So the verification, what is in there, is actually pretty robust as far as our intrusive ability” for the International Atomic Energy Agency to check on whether Iran is complying, the Hill reported.

According to the Times, interviews with more than a dozen White House, congressional and current and former Defense Department officials over the past six weeks paint a portrait of a president who has soured on his defense secretary, weary of unfavorable comparisons to Mattis as the adult in the room, and increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart.

Nearly all of the officials, as well as confidants of Mattis, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal tensions — in some cases, out of fear of losing their jobs.

The one-two punch of the Bob Woodward book that quoted Mattis likening Trump’s intellect to that of a “fifth or sixth grader,” combined with the New York Times Op-Ed by an unnamed senior administration official who criticized the president, has fueled Trump’s belief that he wants only like-minded loyalists around him, the Times reported.

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