Ex-Obama Adviser: Iran’s Navy Should ‘Disappear’ if It Threatens Hormuz Strait

Fars News Agency, Mahdi Marizad/Associated Press
Fars News Agency, Mahdi Marizad/Associated Press

Retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones, former national security adviser during the Obama administration, said Tuesday if Iran ever followed through on its threats to block international shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, he would like to see its navy “disappear.”

“I personally, would like to see, if they ever did something in the Straits of Hormuz, I would like to see their navy disappear,” he said after an event at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

He also indicated that he supported the Trump administration’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran, calling sanctions “effective.”

“I think sanctions, they’re effective, and I’ve participated in the draft of the first sanctions, so I know a little bit about it, it could work,” he said. “I’d like to see more countries adopt this policy.”

He said he did not have much hope that the current regime would change, “so it is really difficult for me to understand why any Western country, or any country, would want to have a trade relationship with a regime like that.”

Jones’ comments came right after the Trump administration reimposed Tuesday morning the economic sanctions on Iran that the Obama administration had lifted as part of the nuclear deal it negotiated with Iran in 2015.

The Obama administration considered the deal its signature foreign policy. It was harshly criticized by Republicans and some Democrats in Washington for not being stringent enough as it did not limit Iran’s ballistic missile program and its provisions were due to expire after ten to 15 years.

President Trump in October refused to recertify the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which allowed for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Iran for its illicit nuclear program. European allies opposed the move but say they would like to begin talks on a new deal.

Jones, a Democrat and retired four-star Marine general, served as former President Obama’s first national security adviser from 2009 to 2010 before secret negotiations with Iran began in 2013.

His views on Iran echo those of other current military leaders. Jones called Iran an “existential threat to the region” and said that he did not believe the regime had changed its “export policy of terror” throughout the Middle East.

“The threats to the Middle East — you talk to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other countries like that, they actually see them as an existential threat, which means that we have to take measures to protect ourselves,” he said.

Asked whether appealing to the Iranian people would spark change inside Iran, Jones replied, “It’s hard to say what brings change but generally … something happens, it could be that they see no hope for the future, their system of justice, or there’s despotic rule, or whatever.”

“But I’m hopeful that eventually Iran will join the family of nations and be a productive country instead of a constant source of disruption,” he said.

“Eventually I’d like to see Iran be governed by people who deserve to live under a different type of leadership. I very much care for the Iranian people because I think deep down inside I know how they feel,” he said.


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