White House National Security Advisor John Bolton told reporters that additional economic sanctions on Iran are not off the table.
“It’s entirely possible that additional sanctions will follow,” Bolton said during an off-camera, on-record briefing proceeding President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Bolton mentioned that the Trump administration was willing to slam Iran with penalties more aggressive than those that existed pre-Iran deal.
When questioned further about the exact timing of Obama-era policy rollback, Bolton repeated: “we’re out of the deal, we’re out of the deal.” And he clarified to reporters that previous pre-deal restrictions would be effective as soon “as soon as they are promulgated,” noting that the president’s Tuesday proclamation set off a domino chain of action through the administration to reinstate those provisions.
The Trump aide also said that those who believe that Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA was a prelude to military action were “badly mistaken.” Though Trump warned in his earlier remarks that he was unafraid of a hardened approach to Iran’s nuclear developments.
“If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before,” Trump said.
For his part, former Secretary of State John Kerry, a key craftsman in the original agreement, blasted the administration’s decision as weak.
“Today’s announcement weakens our security, breaks America’s word, isolates us from our European allies, puts Israel at a greater risk, empowers Iran’s hardliners, and reduces our global leverage to address Tehran’s misbehavior,” Kerry said in a statement.
In the coming weeks, Bolton will be meeting with his German, French, and British counterparts in the coming weeks to discuss a new Iran deal.
“We’ve been in extensive consultations with them [European allies] over the past several months,” Bolton said. “It’s something that the president believes is extremely important … about how we will carry this forward.”