Speed Reads


Top U.S. arms control official reportedly quits State Department after Iran politicization row

Yleem Poblete, a prominent Iran hawk, is resigning as assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification, and compliance, The Washington Post reported Monday night, citing U.S. officials and congressional aides. The State Department didn't offer an explanation for Poblete's departure, but she has repeatedly clashed with her boss, Undersecretary of State Andrea Thompson, the Post reports.

Poblete's views are much more closely aligned with National Security Adviser John Bolton than with Thompson's, former national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, the Post reports. One high-profile clash between Poblete and Thomson was over the State Department's report in April on compliance with arms control accords.

Poblete's office writes the report, and Reuters reported in April that U.S. intelligence agencies and some State Department officials were "concerned that the document politicizes and slants assessments about Iran," raising fears that "the administration was painting Iran in the darkest light possible, much as the George W. Bush administration used bogus and exaggerated intelligence to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq." Poblete had unconventionally "sought to include information such as news stories and opinion pieces in the report," two sources told Reuters.

The Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, reimposed punitive sanctions, designated Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East to counter a purported Iranian threat, and ordered a revised plan to send up to 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to fight Iran, The New York Times reported Monday night. There have been other signs that the Trump administration hasn't been listening to impartial analysis on Iran.

Poblete's vacancy will leave a hole as the U.S. deals with major arms control threats, but some nonproliferation experts argued she wasn't helping advance arms control, anyway.