Daily Israel Report

Bolton: Obama's Iran Policy 'Naive'

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton says sanctions won't deter Tehran and Obama's most lasting legacy will be a nuclear armed Iran.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/18/2012, 8:01 PM

John Bolton
John Bolton
http://cubachi.com

Former US ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday blasted President Barack Obama's sanctions-driven approach to curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions in an op-ed he wrote for USA Today.

“A nuclear armed Iran will be his most lasting legacy,” Bolton – a long-established proponent of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear program – wrote of Obama.

"Sanctions have long been touted as the answer, but they are not," Bolton explained. "Sadly, we have been behind the curve for years, and recent Obama administration claims about slowing Tehran down are little more than re-election propaganda."

Noting that Iran's alliances with China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela and others are sufficient to undermine sanctions, Bolton called Obama's stance 'naive' and said that Tehran does not "buy our theories of deterrence."

"The most likely outcome is stark: The world's central banker of terrorism will very soon become a nuclear weapons state," Bolton predicted.

Nor did Bolton's dark prediction stop with Iran becoming a nuclear power. Rather, he predicted Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would lead to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others seeking them as well.

The end result, Bolton predicted, would be "a multipolar nuclear Middle East [that] simply awaits the first match."

"The only other option is to take pre-emptive military action to break Iran's program," Bolton opined, adding sabotage operations and targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists were merely “a distraction.”

Bolton's charge that Obama is more concerned about his re-election prospects than global security were a clear echo of the same charge from Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon, on Tuesday.

"In the United States, the Senate passed a resolution, by a majority of 100-to-one, to impose these sanctions, and in the US administration there is hesitation for fear of oil prices rising this year, out of election-year considerations," Yaalon told Israel Radio.

However, Yaalon, like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, seems convinced that tough sanctions, if imposed, will break Iran's will and halt its nuclear program. Earlier this week Netanyahu described Iran's economy as "wobbling."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities was "far away." Nonetheless, Barak maintains there are strategic red-lines - such as Iran approaching 90% uranium enrichment - that would force Israel to take military action.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, but the International Atomic Energy Association says Iran has sought - and continues to seek - nuclear technology of a military nature.

Gulf Arabs and Western states share Israel's fears Iran is seeking an atomic bomb - with officials in Saudi Arabia saying, should Tehran obtain nuclear weapons, they too will follow suit.

While Western officials are primarily concerned with averting a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Israel's concerns are more existential in nature.

Iranian officials have described Israel as "a one bomb state."