Bolton is famously the man who never met a war he did not like (except Vietnam, which he avoided). And conflict with Iran was what he seemed to like most.
At his most recent appearance at a MEK meeting, in 2018, Bolton declared: "The behavior and objectives of the [Iranian] regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself. "
He has previously advocated for regime change in Venezuela, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria, to name a few.
Bolton was, mostly via his perch at Fox News, one of the most vocal critics of the 201
With Bolton gone, the mantle of Iran hawk now passes to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But, unlike Bolton, Pompeo seems to have prioritized his relationship with President Trump.
Bolton's departure may change the style of Trump's position on Iran, but perhaps not the substance.
Washington's policy of "maximum pressure" is designed, according to Pompeo, to change Tehran's behavior. But going by the severity of the sanctions, they appear designed to bring Iran to its knees.
Just two days later – a few hours after Bolton's departure – Pompeo said Trump could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "with no preconditions. "
With Bolton out of the way, such a meeting can now go ahead without much resistance within the Trump White House.
Without sanctions relief, or the promise of it, Iranians are unlikely to play like Kim.
Also mitigating against a dramatic shift in US-Iran policy is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has lobbied successive American administrations to take a harder stand on Tehran.