Don't mistake prudence for weakness, Bolton warns Iran


Dont mistake prudence for weakness, Bolton warns Iran

Occupied Jerusalem - Bolton's tough message seemed to be aimed not only at Tehran, but also at reassuring key US allies.


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Published: Sun 23 Jun 2019, 10:46 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Jun 2019, 1:08 AM

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that Iran should not "mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness," after the US abruptly called off military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American surveillance drone.
Bolton's tough message seemed to be aimed not only at Tehran, but also at reassuring key US allies that the White House remains committed to maintaining pressure on Iran. Israel, along with Arab countries in the Gulf, considers Iran to be their greatest threat, and Trump's last-minute about face appears to have raised questions about US willingness to use force against the Islamic Republic.
The downing of the aircraft on Thursday marked a new high in the rising tensions between the United States and Iran in the Arabian Gulf. The Trump administration has vowed to combine a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic sanctions with a buildup of American forces in the region, following the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States' "interventionist military presence" for fanning the flames. He was quoted by the official IRNA news agency.
"The region is very sensitive and security of the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman waterways is important to many countries. We expect international bodies to show proper reaction to the invasion move," Rouhani said about the downing of the US drone.
President Donald Trump says he backed away from the planned strikes after learning 150 people would be killed. But Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk, emphasized that the US reserved the right to attack at a later point. He also said a new set of sanctions on Iran are expected to be announced Monday.
"No one has granted them a hunting licence in the Middle East. As President Trump said on Friday our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go," Bolton said in occupied Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, himself a vocal critic of Iran over the years.
"And as he made clear yesterday, referring to his earlier remarks, the president said, 'I just stopped the strike from going forward at this time,'" Bolton added.

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