U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien warned that any attempt by President-elect Joe Biden to “appease” Iran could jeopardize the peace process in the Middle East. O’Brien said that the process that has seen the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan sign accords with Israel was premised on “shared distrust” of Iran. “It would be a shame to see this budding peace process stunted” by a return to “appeasement,” he said in an interview Wednesday on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. O’Brien also said he hoped to see Saudi Arabia join the accords with Israel, “and the sooner the better.” Biden has said he would return to the multinational agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which President Donald Trump quit over the objections of allies.
O’Brien said he expected a “very professional” transition process to the incoming Biden administration, adding that he expected to meet soon with the president-elect’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and his choice for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. “Both Tony and Jake are professionals,” O’Brien said. He said Sullivan has “impressive credentials”.
It was a more conciliatory tack than was taken by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo when he was asked about Biden’s national security team on Tuesday. “I know some of these folks. They took a very different view,” Pompeo said on Fox News. “They lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind. They appeased. I hope they’ll choose a different course.”
Pompeo is expected to seek the presidency in 2024, assuming Trump doesn’t run again. Asked about reports that he, too, is considering a presidential run, O’Brien said only that he was “fully focused” on his current job and “I’m not running for anything right now.” If President Trump runs again in 2024, O’Brien said he would “never” run against him.