Trump prepared to 'support Israeli attack on Iran': Bolton

Trump was prepared to 'support Israeli attack on Iran': Bolton
4 min read
23 June, 2020
Bolton was fired by Trump as National Security Adviser almost a year ago.
Bolton, 71, has long been a controversial player in Washington. [Getty]

US President Donald Trump was ready to back Israeli military action against Iran in 2017, according to former US national security adviser, John Bolton.

These allegations detailed in Bolton's book published on Tuesday, The Room Where It Happened, expose how the then security adviser suggested to Trump that the White House use "force" against Iran.

"On Iran, I urged [Trump] that he press ahead to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and explained why the use of force against Iran's nuclear programme might be the only lasting solution," Bolton wrote.

Trump allegedly responded that he would back an Israeli attack against the Islamic Republic if it came to it.

"'You tell Bibi that if he uses force, I will back him. I told him that, but you tell him again,' Trump said, unprompted by me," writes Bolton.

He also recounts a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, where Bolton justified the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal signed under Barack Obama's presidency.

Bolton recounted arguing that Iran was not in compliance with the deal, citing the "connection between Iran and North Korea on the reactor in Syria the Israelis had destroyed in 2007" and claiming both proliferators were being "carefully watched" for any further cooperation.

Putin dismissed the ability of Israel to attack Iran, due to regional alliances, Bolton said in the book.

"Israel, he said, could not conduct military action against Iran alone because it didn't have the resources or capabilities, especially if the Arabs united behind Iran, which was preposterous," Bolton wrote.

Bolton was fired by Trump almost a year ago, and after his request to halt the publication of the book was denied by a judge, the President Tweeted that Bolton was a "wacko", slamming the book for it being "made up of lies and fake stories".

According to "The Room Where It Happened", Bolton claimed Trump's senior adviser, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner blocked calls from Netanyahu to Trump.

Kushner allegedly wanted to stop the Israeli prime minister from convincing Trump to cancel a summit with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"Kushner was on the phone to David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, telling Friedman that he was not going to allow Netanyahu's call to go through.

"When he hung up, Kushner explained he had stopped this and an earlier effort by Netanyahu because he didn't think it was appropriate for a foreign leader to talk to Trump about whom he should speak to. These people had an attention span no longer than the deal in front of them," wrote Bolton.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Bolton's account is comparable to National Security Agency whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and his disclosure of state-backed mass surveillance of US citizens.

"Frankly, the information he has released puts criminal liability squarely on him," the top US diplomat told Fox News.

Bolton decried Trump’s presidency to ABC News: "I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job. I don't think he's a conservative Republican. I'm not going to vote for him in November. I'm certainly not going to vote for Joe Biden either. I'm going to figure out a conservative Republican to write in."

Bolton's book has also been criticised by both Republicans and Democrats.

US Democratic Congressman, Hakeem Jeffries, called Bolton a "political opportunist and a profiteer" due to his lack of participation in providing evidence during the impeachment inquiry against the President.

Tim Scott, a US Republican Senator, claimed Bolton is monetising this book sale. He added: "The problem is that when you’re putting it in a book, you're not putting yourself in a position to be cross-examined."

Bolton, 71, has long been a controversial player in Washington, with former president George W Bush bypassing the Senate to appoint him ambassador to the United Nations.

An unapologetic campaigner for the Iraq war who has mused about bombing Iran and North Korea, the Yale-educated lawyer initially seemed an unlikely match for the domestic-focused Trump.

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