At a news conference Wednesday, John Bolton, the National Security Advisor of the United States, called Israeli airstrikes against Iranian military assets in Syria “a legitimate act of self-defense,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
Bolton also noted that the U.S. under President Donald Trump had twice struck at Syria for its use of proscribed chemical weapons. He added that if the Assad regime would resort to chemical weapons again in its current campaign in the Idlib province, the U.S. would strike militarily again.
Regarding Iran, Bolton said that the U.S. did not seek regime change, but “what we want is massive change in the regime’s behavior.” The assumption held by the Obama administration, that Iran’s behavior would change once the nuclear deal was made and behave like a “normal country,” Bolton said was proven wrong.
Rather, Bolton said that Iran’s economy had been mismanaged for years, and the billions Iran received in sanctions relief “mitigated the effects of this management of the economy, and gave the regime new life. It gave this regime – which has been the central banker of international terrorism since 1979 – new assets that could be used for its nuclear weapons program, for its ballistic missiles program, for its terrorist support activities, for its conventional military activities.”
He said that reimposition of sanctions on Iran has had a negative effect on Iran, one that is “more significant than we would have predicted.” Bolton noted that the demonstrations against the regime don’t appear to be coordinated, but rather “just regular people saying they are fed up with the government.”
Towards the end of the news conference, Bolton also mentioned that the sanctions appear to be constraining Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East. “I just think this is very important because the consequences of the reductions of resources available to the regime we think is already manifest to some extent in constraints on the Quds Force in Syria and Iraq, and perhaps also in its assistance to the Houthis in Yemen,” Bolton said.
[Photo: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem / YouTube ]