Bolton: blocking nukes from Iran of 'highest importance'
In a second meeting in less than 24 hours, US National Security Advisor John Bolton slams ‘wretched’ Iran nuclear deal, says US working with our ‘friends in Europe to convince them to take stronger steps against the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile program.’
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said in Jerusalem on Monday that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is of the 'highest importance' for the US, which is why President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the "wretched" nuclear deal.
“I think your analysis of the issues we have to face is right on spot target," said Bolton, who delivered his remarks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a joint press conference in Jerusalem.
"It’s a question of the highest importance for the United States that Iran never gets a deliverable nuclear weapons capability. It’s why President Trump withdrew from the wretched Iran nuclear deal … It’s why we work with our friends in Europe to convince them to take stronger steps against the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile program,” he emphasized.
Bolton, who is on a three-day visit to Israel, also underlined that Iranian aggression in the region is a threat to the whole world, and that the threat could be mitigated by reapplying stiff sanctions that were lifted by the Obama administration.
Bolton has been a strident critic of the nuclear deal and has pushed for greater pressure on Tehran to ensure it halts its support for militant groups in the Mideast and stops development of ballistic missiles. A former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Bolton is a longtime hawkish advocate for Israel.
Opening his remarks, Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked President Trump for withdrawing from the “disastrous” Iranian nuclear deal and vowed to "stand with" the people of Iran in opposing the oppressive Tehran regime
“I want to use this opportunity once again, to thank President Trump for walking away from the terrible deal with Iran,” Netanyahu stressed at the joint press conference with Bolton.
The prime minister emphasized the importance of dropping the Iran deal and reinstating sanctions against Iran, calling on "all countries who care about peace and security in the Middle East" to follw the US's lead.
“The nuclear deal did not block Iran's path to the bomb—it paved Iran's path to an entire nuclear arsenal. And by removing the sanctions, it enabled Iran to bring in billions and billions of dollars to its coffers, which only fueled Iran's war machine—in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, and elsewhere,” he added.
He went on to call Trump’s decision historic. “I believe that the president's decision to leave the disastrous Iran deal was nothing less than a hinge of history," he said.
"And Israel applauds the Trump administration's determination to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran and those doing business with Iran," Netanyahu said at the press conference that was attended by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.
“I know that that view is shared by all our Arab neighbors, or practically everyone in this region. And I frankly believe that all countries who care about peace and security in the Middle East should follow America's lead and ratchet up the pressure on Iran,” the prime minister concluded.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also clearly emphasized that although the Israeli and US government vow to stand up to the Iranian regime, they “stand with” the Iranian people.
“It's important that the people of Iran understand that our fight is not with them. Our fight is with the regime that brutally represses them. That arrests women for uncovering their hair, hangs gays in the public squares, that defies the aspirations for freedom of millions and millions of Iranians,” the prime minister opined.
On Sunday evening, Netanyahu met with Bolton over dinner at the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem. The meeting was also attended by David Friedman and Ron Dermer.
Associated Press contributed to this report.