by WorldTribune Staff, August 31, 2017
An Israeli military strike may be the only option left to effectively derail Iran’s nuclear program, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said.
Decades of failed U.S. diplomacy with Iran, including the Obama administration’s nuclear accord, actually paved the way for the Israeli option, Bolton told the Washington Free Beacon.
Bolton said he was asked last month by now-ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to draft a policy proposal on how the U.S. could withdraw from the JCPOA.
Bolton said he was compelled to go public with his blueprint since Bannon no longer enjoys regular access to Trump and can’t deliver it to the president himself.
“I don’t make any disguise of the idea that ultimately it may take an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program to stop it,” he said. “I wish we weren’t at that point, but this is what 25 years of negotiations with Iran gets you.”
Bolton first pushed the idea in 2009 after hardliners in Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) put down a pro-democracy opposition movement that erupted in response to nationwide accusations that the presidential election was rigged.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Bolton wrote at the time that given the narrowed window for regime change, a targeted Israeli strike was the only time-sensitive option to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Bolton said the highest immediate priority must be the abolition of the nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but added that an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities may be an inevitable deterrent option.
In a draft policy proposal for exiting the accord published in National Review on Aug. 28, Bolton said U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security team needs to discuss military options with Israel and “selected others” regarding Iran’s “menacing behavior.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed to rip it up the nuclear deal, but he has since been met with pushback from key members of his national security team, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
By law, the president must notify Congress every 90 days whether Iran is complying with the deal. Though Trump has twice recertified the agreement, he said he would not do it a third time when recertification comes up again in October.
U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley traveled to Vienna last week to visit the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities.
The IAEA is expected to soon release its quarterly report on Iranian compliance with the deal.