“Israel should have attacked Iran yesterday – every day that goes by puts Israel
in greater danger, every day Iran makes more progress,” John Bolton, a former US
ambassador to the UN, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on
“I can understand why Israel wants us to take action, but the
longer Israel waits for something that is not going to happen, the greater the
danger Israel is in,” the senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
The US and Israel cannot expect to have perfect intelligence about
Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but if Israel attacked Iran after it gained that
capability, there could be “nuclear retaliation,” he said.
first term, President Barack Obama implied that the US would not resupply Israel
with weapons used in attacking Iran, Bolton said. He added that overwhelming
congressional support would have forced the issue of resupplying Israel in any
Now he thinks the situation has changed and the issue is whether
the US would take the necessary measures to make the case that Israel was acting
legitimately in self-defense.
The interview, coming a day after Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Iran was approaching the red line he set out at
the UN last September, constituted a warning that Israel could attack Iran as a
last resort to prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons capability.
about the chances that the US president would order an attack before any Israeli
one, Bolton responded skeptically, “It would take a character transplant for
Obama to order a US attack.”
Bolton believes that the election of Hassan
Rouhani as Iranian president will serve as a trap for the US, which will lull it
into a false sense of security and more negotiations, inevitably leading to a
One can already see this by the reaction of the EU and the
White House to Rouhani’s election, he said.
“The idea that Rouhani will
negotiate seriously shows that this administration is on a different
There have been more than 10 years of negotiations over Iran’s
nuclear program and it has just kept building “a broad and deep infrastructure,”
“Rouhani is a snare for the unwary and we fell right into it,”
said Bolton asserting that the main difference between President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad and the “moderate” president-elect is only rhetorical.
moderates say, ‘Stop talking about it,’ and the radicals don’t stop talking
about it.” In fact, “Rouhani boasted repeatedly about how he had suckered the EU
Regarding the regional fallout of an attack on
Iran, Bolton said it is important that Israel and the US are politically aligned
and sharing intelligence.
And regarding US policy on Egypt and throughout
the region, Bolton said the policy is “incoherent” because Obama does not
understand the nature of radical Islam and the risk it poses. Obama believes
that talking about Islam would be perceived in the region as attacking the
religion even though Muslims are aware of the radical Islam issue.
said that the only mistake the Egyptian military made so far was allowing
Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director-general of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, become vice president.
And on Syria, he said that at this
point the principal US interest is that chemical and biological weapons do not
fall into the hands of terrorists. The country is going through a great tragedy,
Bolton said, but he does not see supporting the opposition as a viable
Asked about speculation regarding a presidential run in 2016,
Bolton responded that he has not made a decision about running, but if he were
to, it would be to get national security issues back to the center of political
debate. International issues have “dropped under the radar screen,” and he would
try to reverse that trend, he said.
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