WASHINGTON - A former top U.S. military adviser warned Sunday that tensions with Iran "could spin out of control" after President Donald Trump's last-minute cancellation of airstrikes on the Islamic republic. Washington and Tehran have traded accusations since Iran shot down a U.S. spy drone last week, prompting a plan for retaliatory strikes that was shelved when Trump decided the resulting mass casualties would not be "proportionate." "My biggest concern is the president is running out of room, running out of options and while rhetoric goes back and forth on how close we came to hitting Iran just the other day, that this thing could spin out of control," former chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen told ABC's "This Week." "The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran." Trump has labeled Iran a danger and in May last year pulled the U.S. out of an international accord on rewarding the country for allowing verification of its nuclear industry. Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay moments of tension, repeating his reluctance to see the dispute escalate to military conflict.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It has been just over two years since the Iran nuclear agreement was signed under the Obama administration. But President Trump may very well be on the way toward pulling the United States out of the deal. JOHN YANG: Candidate Donald Trump ran against the agreement, but President Trump has twice followed the State Department's advice, and certified that Iran is complying with it. But now, in a Wall Street Journal interview published today, Mr. Trump indicates he's willing to overrule the State Department when the next certification is due in October. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have given them the benefit of every doubt.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we return to the second major decision President Trump announced today. He refused to certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement. NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, President Trump followed through on his vow to renounce one of his predecessor's signature achievements. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Today, I am announcing our strategy confront the Iranian regime's hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon. NICK SCHIFRIN: President Trump accused Iran of violating the agreement's nuclear restrictions.
Last Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2334, with a dramatic abstention by the Obama Administration. The resolution called on Palestinian leaders to take "immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror," and refrain from "incitement and inflammatory rhetoric." Its real target, though, was Israel's settlement project, which, the resolution sharply claimed, has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace." Later in the day on Friday, I spoke to Robert Malley, the special assistant to the President on the National Security Council, the senior adviser for the campaign against ISIS, and the White House coördinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf. In February, 2011, the Obama Administration vetoed a similar U.N. condemnation of settlements--opposing fourteen other members of the Security Council and a hundred and twenty co-sponsors from the General Assembly.
The latest round of leaked emails of the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the US reveal repeated criticism by the diplomat of US President Donald Trump. The Huffington Post, the US media outlet that received the latest series of emails, said they showed Yousef al-Otaiba denigrating Trump and others in communications with officials close to then-President Barack Obama. The Huffington Post said one of the emails showed Otaiba corresponding with Rob Malley, Obama's chief adviser on the Middle East, on election night. "You got room for me in Abu Dhabi?" Malley wrote to al-Otaiba. "This isn't funny," the UAE ambassador responded.