A former Israeli defense minister said yesterday that U.S. President Donald Trump's new national security adviser once tried to convince him to strike Iran.
"I knew John Bolton since he was United States ambassador to the United Nations," Shaul Mofaz, who served as defense chief from 2002 to 2006, told a conference in Tel Aviv, as reported by dpa. "He tried to convince me that Israel needs to attack Iran," Mofaz said, the Ynet news site reported. Mofaz said Bolton applied the pressure when he served as U.N. ambassador under George W Bush.
U.S. President Donald Trump's choice of John Bolton as national security adviser reflects an embrace of more hardline policies in the U.S., regarding his pronouncements, typically in the form of calls to bomb countries like Iran and North Korea. "I don't think this was smart, not on the side of the Americans today and not on the side of anyone until the threat is real," Mofaz said of a potential attack on Iran.
Bolton is considered as another nail in the coffin of the Obama-era agreement between Iran and world powers to limit Tehran's nuclear ambitions, already cast into grave doubt by Trump himself. More recently and specifically he seems to be in tune with the president when it comes to the deal, having said that "The Iran nuclear deal, in my opinion, was the worst act of appeasement in American history" in 2016.
Iran should strengthen ties with Russia and China to counter a tougher U.S. stance expected after the appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser, a senior parliament member was quoted as saying on Saturday.
"Americans are pushing for harder policies towards the Islamic Republic of Iran and we need to strengthen our view towards the East, especially China and Russia," Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told ISNA news agency, according to Reuters.
"The use of hardline anti-Iran elements indicates that Americans are pushing for more pressure on Iran, ... mainly as a kick-back to Zionists [Israel] and Saudi Arabia," Boroujerdi said, referring to Bolton who is widely seen as a pro-Israel "hawk" in the Middle East.
Separately, Iran denounced U.S. charges and sanctions announced against nine Iranians and an Iranian company for allegedly attempting to hack into hundreds of universities worldwide, dozens of firms and parts of the U.S. government on behalf of Tehran's government.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said the move was "provocative, illegitimate, and without any justifiable reason and another sign of the hostility of the [U.S.] ruling circles towards the Iranian nation", the state news agency IRNA reported. "America will certainly fail in preventing the scientific development of the Iranian people through sanctions," Qasemi said.
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