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After violating nuclear weapons agreements and taking British oil tankers hostage, Iran’s Islamist leaders seem on a collision course with war.
President Donald Trump thinks only one man can stop them and has turned to Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul to negotiate peace.
“Rand is a friend of mine, and Rand asked me if he could get involved. The answer is yes, and if the other senators ask me to get involved, I’d probably say yes depending on who they were,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I have many people involved, and Iran is going to work out very nicely.”
Politico first broke the news that Paul would be meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on July 19 to negotiate on Trump’s behalf.
That raised eyebrows in Washington and raised tensions in the White House.
“Paul has clashed with some of the president’s more hawkish advisers, including national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and is an outspoken critic of U.S. military interventions in foreign countries,” The Hill reports. “Earlier this year he stressed that the Trump administration must seek approval from Congress if it seeks to go to war with Iran.”
“With Zarif in New York City this week for U.N. meetings and private sitdowns with journalists and think-tank experts, the prospect of the dovish Kentucky senator serving as the administration’s chief diplomatic emissary has rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul’s intervention threatens to scuttle the president’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Tehran,” Politico reported July 17.
“Trump has been attempting to start negotiations with Iran for months, a campaign that has included letters to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, an attempt to use Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an emissary to Tehran, and public comments expressing his desire to talk,” Politico reports.
But it appears Paul’s approach is the only one forcing Iran to back down or negotiate.
“I think there is a possible opening that Iran would sign an agreement saying that they won’t develop a nuclear weapon, ever,” Paul told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto the day before his meeting with Zarif. “That would be a huge breakthrough.”