Sources say he was colluding with European nations and actors with possible ties to the energy industry that has billions on the line in Iran
One veteran Iran policy expert who is close to the White House and worked repeatedly with the State Department told the Free Beacon… that Tillerson worked to save the Iran deal as Trump was publicly advocating to scrap the agreement.
This tension between the White House and Foggy Bottom came to a head in recent days, prompting Trump to fire Tillerson and bring in Pompeo, an official who Trump believes will pressure European allies to more seriously fix a range of flaws in the nuclear deal.
“Tillerson staked his position on saving the Iran deal by threading the needle. He promised the president he could strengthen it enough to be good, but not so much the Europeans would backlash or the Iranians would bolt,” said the source, who would only speak about the sensitive matter on background. “That was always going to be tricky, then it became impossible, then it became embarrassing. The Europeans weren’t giving us enough on missiles and were refusing to budge on sunsets. And so here we are.”
Opponents of the Iran deal on Capitol Hill welcomed the news of Tillerson’s exit, telling the Free Beaconthat as the deadline approaches for the United States and European allies to fix the Iran deal, Pompeo can help push Trump’s hardline stance.
“As the deadline approaches to fix the Iran Deal, Tillerson’s departure is welcome news. We need our top diplomat to share the president’s view on the disastrous nature of the JCPOA, and CIA Director Pompeo is the right man for the job,” said one senior congressional official who works on the Iran issue. “Hopefully now our European partners understand the president’s resolve and will work with us to permanently prevent Iran from going nuclear.”
Shortly after Trump fired Tillerson, the former secretary’s spokesman issued a statement claiming Tillerson was not sure of the reason for his dismissal.
“The secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason,” Steve Goldstein, undersecretary for public diplomacy, told reporters. Goldstein was fired later in the day due to his statement.
Sebastian Gorka, a former strategist and Deputy Assistant to President Trump, told the Free Beacon the White House had been laying the groundwork for Tillerson’s departure since at least December of last year.
“This has been in the planning phase since at least December of last year and should come as a surprise to nobody,” Gorka said. “The great things that were expected of Rex, especially in changing the America last culture at Foggy Bottom, did not happen, so this is a natural move.”
Gorka praised Pompeo’s work as CIA director and said “similar things are expected of him at the State Department.”
Additionally, Gorka said, Pompeo “is loyal to the make American great again agenda.”
Tillerson had been a source of tension for some time, according to insiders who explained the situation to the Free Beacon. The former Exxon executive gained a reputation for isolating top U.S. diplomats and even failing to return phone calls from senior officials such as David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel.