Trump's national security adviser suggests Iran has been 'choked off' by sanctions, but Trump says he 'couldn't care less' if Iran wants to negotiate

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Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he "couldn't care less" if US sanctions forced Iran to the negotiating table. 
  • National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien appeared on Fox News Sunday and said that a "maximum pressure campaign" against Iran is working. 
  • "Iran is being choked off, and Iran is going to have no other choice but to come to the table."
  • But in his tweets on Sunday, Trump said that he "couldn't care less" if Iran agreed to negotiate. 
  • Tensions between Iran and the US have flared after Trump ordered the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in an airstrike earlier this month. Iran responded by firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq hosting US and Iraqi military personnel. 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said his national security adviser suggested Iran was being "choked" by US sanctions, but Trump said he "couldn't care less" if it forced Iran to the negotiating table.

In a tweet on Sunday night, Trump reiterated statements made by National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who suggested that sanctions and protests have left Iran "choked off" and will force them to negotiate. Advertisement

O'Brien appeared on Fox News Sunday and said that a "maximum pressure campaign" against Iran is working. 

"Iran is being choked off, and Iran is going to have no other choice but to come to the table."

But in his tweets on Sunday, Trump said that he "couldn't care less" if Iran agreed to negotiate. 
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"Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your protesters,'" he said. 

 Tensions between Iran and the US have flared after Trump ordered the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in an airstrike earlier this month. Advertisement

Iran retaliated last week by firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq hosting US and Iraqi military personnel. The missile strikes did not result in casualties.

Hours later, a Ukraine International Airlines flight crashed minutes after it took off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport, killing all 176 people aboard. Iran initially denied that it was behind the accident, but later admitted to shooting down the commercial airliner.

The Trump administration announced new sanctions against Iran on Friday, a continuation of a maximum pressure campaign against the country. Advertisement

And over the weekend, thousands of protestors flooded the streets of Tehran to demand the resignation of the country's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

But experts have argued that the US' maximum pressure campaign has not led to a change in Iran's behavior

"[The US] needs to credibly demonstrate that its policy toward Iran is not a blueprint for an endless struggle," Seth G. Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in report earlier this monthAdvertisement

"But instead an effort to encourage Iran to be more democratic and open, as political and economic change must be driven by Iranians themselves."

 

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