One of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's senior advisers had some harsh words Wednesday morning for President Trump.
Hesameddin Ashena went after the U.S. president on his favorite social media platform, tweeting a warning to him about the prospect of war between Iran and the United States. Although Ashena had previously described Trump as Iran's "sole problem" with the U.S., he appeared this time to mostly blame Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — whom he called a "clown" — for the escalation, which continued Tuesday evening when Tehran launched missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq. Ashena did, however, seem to hint some sort of agreement was still possible if Trump changes course.
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) January 8, 2020
Iranian officials aren't the only ones who have criticized Pompeo's role in bringing Tehran and Washington to the brink. John Gans, a former chief speechwriter at the Pentagon, told The New York Times that Pompeo's leadership behind the U.S.'s "sloppy explanations" of the threat that prompted Trump to kill former Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike last week in Iraq, as well as "disorganized public statements, and hasty diplomatic and military efforts" have "limited the effectiveness" of the Trump administration's Iran policy.
"I think Secretary Pompeo is playing a rather naive and destructive role in all this," said Wendy Sherman, the former third-ranking State Department official in the Obama administration. Read more about Pompeo and Iran at The New York Times.