Trump brings powerful entourage to dinner to woo Australia as prospect of Iran intervention grows

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not ruled out supporting a US-led intervention in Iran, after dining with President Trump ahead of the G20 summit.
  • Also in attendance were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser and archiect of the Iraq War John Bolton who have been pushing the President towards a military intervention.
  • They were joined by other high-profile officials during which Trump heaped praise on Morrison and Australia as he looks to firm up the bilateral realtionship.

US president Donald Trump has praised prime minister Scott Morrison, his “tremendous” election victory, and the US-Australian relationship on the eve of the G20 summit, as US tensions with Iran continue to sour.

Given Trump’s busy schedule packed with no less than nine bilateral meetings with world leaders including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Australian meeting was something of a surprise given the Middle East and trade with China remains a top US priority.

More surprising perhaps would have been the high-profile entourage that Trump brought to the dinner meeting, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — as well as his daughter Ivanka.

The first two have been some of the loudest voices demanding action against Iran.

Pompeo used his first major speech to claim the US would “crush” Iranian proxies around the world, while Bolton has agitated for decades for a US-military response to the Middle Eastern nation.

Both have seized on the attack of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month as a rallying cry, with Pompeo and the US military blaming Iran for the aggression.

With both present at the dinner, and as tensions with Iran rise, so too does the probability that the US will request Australian support.

Morrison would not rule out the possibility following the meeting.

“There are no requests and at this stage I think those issues are a bit premature but we are obviously concerned,” he told the ABC on Friday.

“We would deal with any request from an ally such as the United States seriously and on its merits.”

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