Trump’s choices for US secretary of state all fierce critics of Iran deal

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, American diplomat John Bolton and junior Senator Bob Corker and were listed as possible candidates

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As soon as the United States elected Donald Trump as its 45th president, the media started speculating on who would replace current Secretary of State John Kerry.

A leaked document published by Buzzfeed on Thursday purportedly shows a who’s who short-list of Trump’s closest Republican surrogates and insiders who would be considered top candidates President-Elect Trump’s cabinet.

The list of 41 names, obtained by BuzzFeed News, covers 13 state departments, the attorney general, Office of Management and Budget, White House chief of staff, and White House counsel.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, American lawyer and diplomat John Bolton and junior Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker and were listed as possible candidates to replace Kerry as the US top diplomat.

Newt Gingrich

Republican Gingrich is the former speaker of the House and ran failed presidential bid in 2012. He is perhaps remembered this year for his heated debate with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in which he accused her of being “fascinated with sex” for her reporting on allegations of unwanted advances and groping by Trump.

Gingrich is said to have attended the Iran opposition conference held in Paris earlier in July and has been a fierce critic to the Iran nuclear deal signed last year.

“The surrender to Iran on sanctions and nuclear weapons will be one more stage in the American defeat by a determined, dishonest and surprisingly effective theocratic dictatorship in Tehran,” Gingrich wrote in article published by The Washington Times last year.

John Bolton

Bolton served as the US ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 and is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican administrations.

He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

When asked during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, then Republican Nominee Trump named Bolton as a possible choice for Secretary of State.

Bolton is another strong critic of the Iran nuclear deal and who has campaigned, along with his organization The Foundation for American Security & Freedom, against the deal in national ads.

He said, in an interview with IJReview, “If Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapons program, it would still be central banker of international terrorism.”

Bob Corker

Corker is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from Tennessee, serving since 2007. He is currently the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 114th Congress.

He became a big defender of the Iraq War since taking his seat in Congress in January 2007 but has admitted that by invading 2003, the US “took a big stick and beat a hornets’ nest”, unleashing rivalries that might take decades to resolve.

He is also among the strongest critics against the Iran nuclear deal, having written an opinion piece published by the Washington Post that “rather than end Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, over time this deal industrializes the program of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism”.

*A version of this article written by Al Arabiya's Ramadhan al-Saadi also appears on AlArabiya.net.