Trump's Iran 'obliteration' talk is 'doing the work of the mullahs for them': retired admiral
Rear Admiral John Francis Kirby, U.S. Navy (retired) on CNN.

On Saturday, Rear Adm. John Kirby, former Pentagon Press Secretary, told CNN that while he supported President Donald Trump's attempts to get to the negotiating table, he believes those efforts are likely to be even less successful that Trump's negotiations with North Korea.


"There are some similarities seeing play out with Iran to what we saw play out with North Korea," said anchor Victor Blackwell. "You know, fire and fury, I want to talk, I don't want war, but my button is bigger than yours. You remember, we heard that during 2017. But the Ayatollah is not Kim Jong-Un. Rouhani is not Kim Jong-Un. Iran is not Kim Jong-Un. Iran is not North Korea. Is there any part of the North Korea playbook to get to talks, not to the eventual end of getting them to abandon their nuclear enrichment or even ballistic missiles, that works for Iran? Anything from the North Korean playbook that works for that country?"

"I'd be careful trying to compare the two," said Kirby. "They're completely two different regimes run by two completely different autocrats. And in fact, in Iran, it's a theocracy, it's religious-based. I'd be careful to try to pick and choose one or the other. But I think the president's instincts to want to talk, they're good. Now he just has to find a way to get the Iranians to the table, and right now, I don't see a way to do that in the year and a half he has left in office. My gut is the Iranians are going to try to wait him out."

"We need to understand, unlike Kim Jong-Un, it's not only an autocratic government, it's led by one guy, in Iran, it's not a monolithic — yes, the Supreme Leader runs, from a religious perspective, he runs the country, but there's an elected government under President Rouhani, and there's great tension between the religious right and the civil elected government, Rouhani's more moderate government," said Kirby. "And in some ways, President Trump with all his bellicosity and all his obliteration talk, all he's doing is doing the work of the mullahs for them."

"About a month ago, Victor, a Revolutionary Guard commander said that he who's calling for calling for regime change in his own country. In other words, he wanted Rouhani out," said Kirby. "So I think the Iranians, particularly Rouhani, are willing to wait Trump out here for 18 months. I find it very difficult to see how he's going to get them to the table."

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