Bolton: Iran might ‘play Trump along’ if he wins second term

July 3, 2020 - 17:58

TEHRAN — Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton has said he’s worried that Iran might be able to play his former boss along if he’s re-elected.

In a video conference interview with Israel’s Channel 13 on Friday, Bolton said if U.S. President Donald Trump wins a second term, he may try to embrace Iran in a bid to clinch a new nuclear accord.

The remarks come amid ongoing tensions between Tehran and Washington which have been in place since Trump unilaterally abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and reinstated crippling economic sanctions against Tehran.

Iran has made it clear that negotiation is always possible within existing frameworks of the nuclear deal and only if the U.S. returns to the deal and honors its commitments. It has emphatically rejected any prospect of bilateral talks with the U.S.

“Just as [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un played Trump along in the Korea context, I worry that in a second term the Iranians might be able to do the same,” Bolton said.

“I think [Trump] has his own definition of what amounts to honesty. He certainly has a lot of different versions of facts. They tend to come and go as they suit him. I found that very frustrating, I think foreign leaders find it frustrating. I'd rather have somebody more grounded in reality as president,” the ex-adviser added.

Bolton, who is notoriously famous for his ultra-hawkish stance toward Iran, said on June 23 that the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal “was my happiest moment, probably of the whole time” in the Trump administration.

“I probably should have left the administration then,” Bolton told Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier in an interview.

He said U.S. President Donald Trump undercut his own hardline Iran policy, telling Baier, “We did put enormous pressure on Iran but when it came down to it by near the end of my tenure, Trump’s still looking for that deal, wanted to meet with the Ayatollahs, wanted to meet with [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, wanted to meet with the Iranian Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad Zarif]."

Trump has been repeatedly calling for dialogue with Iran. The U.S. president ousted Bolton on September 10, 2019.

MH/PA

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