Balance of Power: Trump Warning Drags Iran Back Into Spotlight

President Donald Trump wants the festering dispute between a Saudi-led coalition and Qatar ended, quickly.

So when it looked like the kingdom was weighing military action against the tiny emirate earlier this year, Trump warned leaders in Riyadh and the U.A.E. to back down, two people familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg News. It was a dramatic level of personal involvement by a U.S. president in a dispute where he initially sided with the Saudis.

Now Trump and his national security team worry the continuing crisis will benefit Iran, which already has ties to Qatar and is seen by the U.S. as a disruptive force across the Middle East.

Iran may be Trump’s top foreign policy priority after “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-Un. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will cajole other countries in the Iran nuclear deal to consider changing the accord.

Still, there’s little support for such a measure. French President Emmanuel Macron rebuffed Trump over the issue yesterday. “If we denounce the accord, do we better manage nuclear proliferation? I don’t think so.”

Donald Trump meets with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Photographer: Getty Images

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