US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Monday bemoaned the “wretched” Iranian nuclear deal in his talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, as the senior US aide and Israeli premier called for stepped-up global pressure on Tehran to curb its military activities.
Ahead of a day of discussions between Israeli and American security officials, John Bolton told Netanyahu that the United States sees the “highest importance” in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and that’s why Trump withdrew from the deal negotiated by the Obama administration and was reapplying stiff sanctions.
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 terror 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.
Netanyahu agreed the deal was “disastrous” and called Trump’s decision to drop out historic. He repeated his oft-used refrain that “the nuclear deal did not block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paved Iran’s path to an entire nuclear arsenal.”
“By removing the sanctions [the deal] 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,” said Netanyahu.
The premier stated that Israel’s gratitude for Trump’s decision to walk away from the accord “is shared by all our Arab neighbors… practically everyone in this region,” and added that “all countries that care about peace and security in the Middle East should follow America’s lead and ratchet up the pressure on Iran. Because the greater the pressure on Iran, the greater the chance that the regime will roll back its aggression.”
“It’s important 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, that hangs gays in the public squares, that defies the aspirations for freedom of millions and millions of Iranians,” declared Netanyahu.