U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton blasted the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which he called “wretched,” as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss combating the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, as well as its threatening presence in Syria and the rest of the Middle East.
Netanyahu agreed with Bolton’s sentiment on the nuclear accord, which the U.S. withdrew from in May, saying it was “disastrous.”
“The nuclear deal did not block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paved Iran’s path to an entire nuclear arsenal,” said Netanyahu. “Removing the sanctions enabled Iran to bring in billions and billions of dollars to its coffers which only fueled Iran’s war machine in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen and elsewhere.”
Netanyahu remarked that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the deal is “is shared by all our Arab neighbors … practically everyone in this region.”
“All countries that care about peace and security in the Middle East should follow America’s lead and ratchet up the pressure on Iran,” said Netanyahu. “Because the greater the pressure on Iran, the greater the chance that the regime will roll back its aggression.”
Additionally, the Israeli premier expressed solidarity with the ongoing protests in Iran against its leadership.
“It’s important the people of Iran understand that our fight is not with them,” he said. “Our fight is with the regime that brutally represses them—that arrests women for uncovering their hair, that hangs gays in the public squares, that defies the aspirations for freedom of millions and millions of Iranians.”
This visit to Israel was the first for Bolton, whom Netanyahu called a “tremendous friend” of Israel, as national security advisor for the Trump administration.