President Donald Trump speaks as National security advisor John Bolton listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. May 22, 2018

President Donald Trump speaks as National security advisor John Bolton listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. May 22, 2018

Restoring Iran Nuclear Deal 'Strategic Mistake': John Bolton

3/18/2022

Former US national security adviser John Bolton says restoring the 2015 nuclear deal is a "terrible mistake" and insists the Iranian regime must be overthrown.

Calling the 2015 deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) a "bad deal," Bolton told Iran International television on Thursday that going back to it is a "terrible mistake for the United States and anyone who believes in peace and regional security."

"The concessions that were made to the mullahs in Tehran to get the deal put back together make it even worse. It was supposed to be about nuclear matters and not about terrorism. If it's about terrorism, there is a lot more to do, to discuss with Iran. But to take the IRGC off the terrorism list I think would be a big mistake," he said, adding that it is the fundamental elements of the deal itself that are bad too.

"That's the real problem," he said, adding that the administration of President Joe Biden is making a "strategic mistake" in seeking to restore the JCPOA. "It's a sign of weakness and lack of strategic vision."

American and Israeli sources told Reuters and Axios that the Biden Administration is considering removing the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which was blacklisted by the Trump administration in 2019 as a terrorist organization, in return for a commitment by Iran to "reign in" the guards.

Bolton also referred to the recent Russian demand for US guarantees that its cooperation with Tehran would not be blocked by Ukraine sanctions, criticizing the Biden administration for granting a waiver to Moscow for nuclear work in Iran. He Russia won "one more concession from the Biden administration", and they will continue to have the same role they had in the 2015 deal and perhaps an "expanded role" in the revived agreement. "This gives Russia a legitimacy that it doesn't deserve at this point."

Bolton who has always advocated regime change in Iran sought complete withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and said the deal was so bad it could not even be fixed. Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2019 prevented Trump’s attempts to open diplomatic channels with Iran.

The Iranian regime is "rogue", Bolton said, emphasizing that it must be "overthrown" and "the Iranian people get to have a say who their government is."

Trump did not go along with some of Bolton's major hardline positions such as seeking regime change in Iran and in September 2019, he said on Twitter that he had dismissed him due to the many disagreements between them. Bolton later told the media the president had never asked for his resignation and that he had resigned of his own accord.

Iran on January 8 added Bolton's name to its blacklist of US nationals it accuses of having a role in the decision-making, planning, organizing, financing, directing or carrying out the strike that killed the IRGC Qods Force commander Ghasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport in January 2020.

Earlier this month, the Washington Examiner quoted a Justice Department official as saying that there was enough evidence to indict two IRGC agents who allegedly had plotted to assassinate Bolton but the Biden administration was resisting any public measures for fear that it could derail the Vienna negotiations with Tehran.

Bolton said he could not reveal the details of the alleged assassination plot but considers being sanctioned by Iran, Russia, and China "a badge of honor".

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