Iran Threatens to Attack U.S., Israel

During his three-day visit to Israel, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the United States wanted to put maximum economic pressure on Iran, triggering a reaction from the country’s leaders who threatened military strikes in response.

Bolton changed his previous rhetoric calling for regime change in the Islamic Republic and pointed out that was not something the government of the United States favored. He stressed, however, that the U.S. would implement a maximum pressure campaign to force Tehran to change its disruptive behavior in the region.

The national security adviser further noted that the latest set of U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran at the beginning of this month may take a considerable toll and thus force the country to reconsider its behavior, which includes supporting terrorist groups across the Middle East. More sanctions against Iran’s oil industry will also go into effect soon.

Bolton also referred to plans to remove forces from Syria linked to Iran, saying that the Russian president supported pushing Iran out. His remarks directly contrasted previous ones made by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, causing anger among Iranian leaders.

On Wednesday, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami warned the U.S. not to risk a conflict with Iran, threatening also that its ally Hezbollah would hit Israel with strikes. A day earlier, Iran unveiled a new domestically made jet in what has been interpreted as a show of force on its side. At the same time, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei maintained no country would dare enter a military confrontation with Tehran.

Bolton, on the other hand, repeatedly stressed that the U.S. would use economic sanctions as its weapon of choice.

“We’re not just going to stop at where the sanctions were in 2015. Our goal, our objective really, is essentially we’d like to say no waivers to the sanctions,” he noted before the end of his trip.

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