Iran is a “rogue regime” and has acted for decades as the central banker of international terrorism, the Trump administration alleged Wednesday. US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s statement came in response to Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif recent remarks terming the US an “outlaw regime”.
“You know, Iran is a rogue regime,” Bolton told reporters at a White House news conference here. “It (Iran) has been a threat throughout the Middle East, not only for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, but it’s acted for decades as the central banker of international terrorism. And its hostile and aggressive military behavior in the region today is a breach of international peace and security,” Bolton alleged.
“So I don’t take what they say seriously at all,” he said in response to a question.
Bolton said America’s dispute is with the ayatollahs who have taken Iran from a respected position in the international community to being a rogue state. “Our dispute has never been with the people of Iran. We only wish they had the ability to control their own government,” he said.
Bolton insisted that regime change was not a policy of the US. “Our policy is not regime change, but we do expect substantial change in their behaviour that’s why the president has directed all of us in the government to come up with steps to reimpose the economic sanctions, and to do whatever else is necessary to ensure we bring maximum pressure on the regime to stop its malign behaviour across the board – not just in the nuclear field, but across the board,” Bolton said.
“We are going to apply the maximum amount of leverage we can. We’re working with our European partners, with the British, the French, the Germans and others,” he said.
“They have chosen to remain in the Iran nuclear deal. But as I’ve said to them, it’s like a book that was written several decades ago in this country. It was called something like ‘The Six Stages of Grief’. You know, first you have denial, then you have anger. Eventually you get to acceptance. And I think that’s the direction the Europeans are moving in,” he added.
European companies in droves are forswearing business opportunities in Iran because they don’t want to be caught up in the pressure campaign that the US is applying, Bolton said.