Bolton: Trump Greenlighted Israeli Strikes Against Iran

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump approved Israeli strikes against Iran, former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton writes in his forthcoming book.

In the memoir, entitled The Room Where it Happened, Bolton describes a 2017 meeting between him and Trump in which Israel was discussed.

“I warned Trump against wasting political capital in an elusive search to solve the Arab-Israeli dispute and strongly supported moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing it as Israel’s capital. On Iran, I urged that he press ahead to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and explained why the use of force against Iran’s nuclear program might be the only lasting solution.

“‘You tell Bibi [Netanyahu] that if he uses force, I will back him. I told him that, but you tell him again,’ Trump said, unprompted by me,” Bolton writes.

Bolton also recounts an October 2018 meeting in the Kremlin, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed doubts Israel could conduct strikes against Iran.

“Israel, he said, could not conduct military action against Iran alone because it didn’t have the resources or capabilities, especially if the Arabs united behind Iran, which was preposterous,” Bolton writes.

Putin was also opposed to a U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement but Bolton told the Russian leader that “Iran was not in compliance with the deal, noted the connection between Iran and North Korea on the reactor in Syria the Israelis had destroyed in 2007, and said we were carefully watching for evidence the two proliferators were cooperating even now.

“In any event, reimposing sanctions on Iran had already taken a heavy toll, both domestically and in terms of their international troublemaking.”

Bolton also addresses the G7 conference in August 2019, when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to Biarritz and there was intense speculation as to whether Trump would sit down with Zarif.

Zarif at the time said Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were trying to prevent him from talking to Trump.

Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner blocked phone calls from Netanyahu to Trump on the matter, Bolton writes.

“Kushner explained he had stopped this and an earlier effort by Netanyahu because he didn’t think it was appropriate for a foreign leader to talk to Trump about whom he should speak to,” Bolton says.


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