The Latest: Bolton: US would like Iran forces out of Syria
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on tensions between the U.S. and Iran and in the Persian Gulf (all times local):
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton says “the United States would very much like to get rid of foreign forces from Syria,” an apparent reference to Iranian troops there.
Bolton’s comments Tuesday at a press conference in Jerusalem came after his Russian counterpart urged the United States and Israel to show “restraint” toward Iran.
The high-profile trilateral security summit focused on Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region, particularly in neighboring Syria.
Differences between the sides quickly emerged. Israel has long called for Iranian forces to be removed from its northern front and Bolton says the Iranian forces are “a problem in Syria.”
The Russian envoy, Nikolai Patrushev, responded by saying that Iran had fought against terrorists on Syria’s soil and was “stabilizing the situation” there.
The summit comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf.
Russia’s national security adviser says Russian intelligence has determined that Iran shot down an American drone last week over Iranian airspace.
Nikolai Patrushev’s assessment contradicts U.S. claims that the aircraft was downed in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.
Patrushev spoke to reporters after a three-way meeting with his Russian and Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem. He said Iran has not briefed Russia about the incident but that the Russian Defense Ministry has concluded the drone had entered Iranian airspace.
He says: “We have not seen any proof otherwise.”
President Donald Trump called off a planned U.S. reprisal in response to the shoot-down just minutes before it was to take place but has imposed new sanctions on Iran.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton says “all options remain on the table” if Iran exceeds the uranium enrichment limit under the 2015 deal.
Bolton spoke at a press conference after a high-profile trilateral security summit in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
He was responding to a question about whether a military strike was still an option if Iran crosses the 300-kilogram stockpile threshold outlined in the atomic accord. Bolton says it would be “a very serious mistake for Iran to ignore those limits.”
Iran says it will possess over 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium by Thursday, in violation of the deal. Europe separately faces a July 7 deadline imposed by Tehran to offer a better deal or Iran will begin enriching its uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.
Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk, says it “should give up their pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons.”
Russia’s national security adviser has rebuffed U.S. and Israeli attempts to isolate Iran and is urging both countries to show “restraint” toward the Islamic Republic.
Nikolai Patrushev spoke at a three-way meeting Tuesday with his Israeli and American counterparts in Jerusalem. He says attempts to present Iran “as the main threat to regional security” or to equate it to international terrorist groups are “not acceptable.”
He added that “Iran is contributing a lot to fighting terrorists on the Syrian soil and stabilizing the situation there.”
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, earlier called for the three countries to agree on expelling foreign forces from neighboring Syria. He says Israel will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence there.
Patrushev called on Israel and the U.S. to encourage a political settlement in Syria.
Iran’s president is mocking President Donald Trump, going so far as to say that the White House is “afflicted by mental retardation.”
The comments by Hassan Rouhani came after the Trump administration sanctioned Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday.
Rouhani said the decision meant the “certain failure” of the White House’s efforts. He also criticized U.S. officials for wanting to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Rouhani spoke live in a televised address on Tuesday.
Iran’s president says the new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader and others are “outrageous and idiotic.”
The comments by Hassan Rouhani come a day after the Trump administration sanctioned Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates.
Rouhani says the decision meant the “certain failure” of the White House’s efforts. He spoke in a live television address on Tuesday.
Rouhani also criticized U.S. officials for wanting to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
An exasperated Rouhani said: “You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel, the United States and Russia have a common objective to remove Iranian forces from Syria.
Netanyahu says that doing so will “create a more stable Middle East.” He spoke at a meeting of the three countries’ national security advisers on Tuesday.
Iran and Russia have played a key role in backing Syrian President Bashar Assad and helping him overcome rebel forces in his country’s civil war. Netanyahu has long warned that Iran now looks to leverage that influence into establishing a military foothold along Israel’s northern front.
The three-way summit in Jerusalem with the American and Russian officials was expected to focus on Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region, particularly in neighboring Syria.
It comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton says President Donald Trump is open to real negotiations and “all that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door”
Bolton spoke at a high-profile trilateral security summit in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
He says American envoys are surging across the region in hopes of finding a path out of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran but that the silence of the Islamic Republic has been “deafening.”
Bolton says: “There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons.”
His comments alongside his Israeli and Russian counterparts come after Iran slammed the Trump administration over new U.S. sanctions targeting its supreme leader. Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the measures spell a “permanent closure” to diplomacy between the U.S and Iran.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says the new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader and other top officials mean the “permanent closure” of diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
That’s according to a report carried by the state-run IRNA news agency on Tuesday, quoting the spokesman, Abbas Mousavi.
Mousavi says the “fruitless sanction on Iran’s leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated U.S. administration.”
Trump enacted new sanctions Monday targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. U.S. officials also say they plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
This comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over its unraveling nuclear deal and as Iran last week shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone.