President Donald Trump is considering imposing new sanctions against Russia and Iran, Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on the network’s State of the Union. Haley also said in the interview aired on Sunday that she does not see a viable political solution to the conflict in Syria with Bashar al-Assad as president of the country.
When asked by Tapper whether Trump was considering “tougher sanctions on Russia and Iran,” Haley said that the issue of new sanctions was already being discussed.
“I think that is the conversation that he [President Trump] will be having and has started to have, going forward,” Haley said. “But I think he will have to look at the situation.”
She said that nothing was “off the table at this point” and that the ongoing discussions were about the situation in Syria, and specifically about the recent allegation that President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria used chemical weapons against civilians in the Idlib Province of the country.
Haley also told CNN that ousting Assad has become top agenda for Trump’s administration. The apparent U-turn in the Trump administration’s Syria policy, according to Haley, was a direct result of the latest development in the county. She added that while seeking a political solution in Syria remained one of the top priorities for the Trump administration, there could no political solution in Syria with Assad in power.
“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” Haley told State of the Union host Jake Tapper. “It just — if you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad.”
She added that “regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.”
“You saw this terrible tragedy on innocent people, a lot of them children, and the first reaction from Russia wasn’t ‘how horrible,’ it wasn’t ‘how could they do this,’ it wasn’t ‘how did this happen,’ it was: ‘Assad didn’t do it.’ Why was that the reaction?” Haley said.
“Getting Assad out is not the only priority,” she continued. “And so what we’re trying to do is obviously defeat ISIS. Secondly, we don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there.”
Haley added that what the U.S. government considered an inappropriate response from Moscow prompted the ongoing investigation into Russia’s role in the chemical attack.
The Associated Press reported that Washington was investigating whether Russia had any involvement in the suspected chemical attack on civilians in the Idlib Province. Washington has blamed Bashar al-Assad’s government for the attack, but the accusation has been denied by the Syrian as well as the Russian authorities.
The new developments come after the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from its warships positioned in the eastern Mediterranean. The missiles hit the Syrian military’s Shayrat airbase located near the city of Homs. The U.S. military targeted the Shayrat airbase because it believed that the chemical attack in Idlib Province that led to the death of dozens of civilians was launched from the airfield.
“We’ve seen the evidence on Assad, we know exactly what happened,” Haley said.
However, the Russian Defense Ministry insisted that the U.S. authorities have presented “no evidence whatsoever” to back up their accusations against Assad’s government. The U.S. has also not shown proof that a chemical weapons attack was launched from the Shayrat airfield.
[Featured Image by Dennis Van Tine/Star Max/AP Images]