By Hanif Ghaffari

Bolton's negotiations against Iran

August 27, 2018

John Bolton, the U.S. National Security Advisor, continues his anti-Iranian negotiations in various fields. In recent weeks, he has been busy discussing the presence of Iran in Syria and, on the other hand, engaging in negotiations with other countries over Iran's sanctions.

Bolton knows well that he will have to come to an agreement with other international players in this regard until November; the time when the U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil and the Central Bank will begin. But the existing evidences suggest that the U.S. National Security Advisor is not going to succeed in this regard.

On the sidelines of his recent visit to Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of President Vladimir Putin's Security Council, Bolton explicitly raised the issue of Iran's oil embargo, and mentioned that the U.S. is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero.

“Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime’s behaviour,” Bolton said.

He also addressed the European authorities in a specific way and said that the Europeans have to make a choice between the U.S. and Iran in observing American sanctions which he claims have been more effective than expected.

“We expect that Europeans will see, as businesses all over Europe are seeing, that the choice between doing business with Iran or doing business with the United States is very clear to them".

Bolton's remarks comes at a time when China, India and Turkey are refusing to comply with U.S. secondary sanctions against Iran. On the other hand, European countries are also preparing a plan (a new package of proposals) for maintaining the nuclear deal.

 Under such circumstances, even Trump's close friends (some of whom are opposed to the presence of Bolton at the White House) and many traditional Republicans doubt Bolton's success in confronting Iran. It's to be noted here that John Bolton was the main advocate of George W. Bush invasion to Iraq in 2003.

However, after a while it became clear that he and the other conservatives had stuck Washington in a terrible mire. By the end of the Bush presidency, Bolton has become the symbol of the defeat of the U.S. President both inside and outside the country. Such a fate is already expected for Trump and Bolton. Many international affairs analysts believe that John Bolton, the current national security adviser in the United States, will soon become a symbol of the failure of the Trump government.

Another issue that Bolton had negotiated with the Russian authorities was about Iran's military presence in Syria. This was also discussed at the recent joint meeting of Bolton and Patrushev. The visit was largely influenced by verbal attacks from American and Russian officials. Russian sources have emphasized that the Russian and American officials couldn't come to an agreement over issues such as the presence in Syria. However, the parties have announced that they will continue negotiations in the future.

At the end, Bolton and Nikolai Patrushev failed to sign a joint statement following five hours of discussion in Geneva covering security issues, amid a historic low in relations between the two countries. Both Bolton and Patrushev spoke to reporters after the meeting, the first official bilateral talks since Putin’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump last month, and they said there would be no joint declaration because Russia opposed U.S. accusations.

After his meeting with Patrushev, Bolton stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin told the United States that an Iranian presence in Syria does not tally with Russian interests, but he can't force Iran out of Syria. He also mentioned that Washington and Moscow don't agree on the presence of Iranian forces in Syria.

Bolton's statements reflect the failure of his talks with the secretary of Putin's Security Council on Iran's military presence in Syria. As we can see, John Bolton has started a full-fledged opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the economic, political and regional dimensions.

 President Donald Trump seems to have given Bolton full authorization in this regard, but he has not been able to take a practical step forward in confronting Iran. He has faced crises and obstacles on the imposition of oil sanctions against Iran and on regional policies of our country; an issue which has raised concerns among Zionist lobbies that support Bolton in the United States.

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