In recent weeks, the administration has dispatched an aircraft carrier to the waters near Iran, ordered 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East and tightened economic sanctions, prompting many Democrats — as well as U.S. allies in Europe and Asia — to fear that the two nations are heading toward combat Trump, however, took a more conciliatory tone during a news conference here with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, downplaying tensions with both Iran and North Korea.
“These are great people — has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership,” he said of Iran. “We’re not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons.” That’s a considerably more modest goal than top administration officials have suggested.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, for example, has laid out a far-reaching case against Iran in a series of speeches over the last year. In the first, just over a year ago, he described Iran in uncompromising terms as a security threat and vowed an all-out campaign of economic sanctions that would leave the country “battling to keep its economy alive.”
National security advisor John Bolton has long advocated regime change in Iran. In 2015, as he campaigned against the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Tehran, he wrote that “the real solution to the ayatollahs’ nuclear weapons program is to get rid of the ayatollahs.”
Trump has periodically pushed back against his aides’ saber rattling toward Iran.
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