Bolton: Iran is the world's central banker of terror

White House national security adviser says radical Islamist terrorist groups are the top threat to the US and its interests abroad.

Elad Benari ,

John Bolton
John Bolton

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that radical Islamist terrorist groups are the top cross-border threat to the United States and its interests abroad.

"Radical Islamist terrorist groups represent the pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United States' interests abroad," Bolton told reporters, according to Reuters, as he presented President Donald Trump’s new counterterrorism strategy.

He also said the United States faces threats from Iran, which he called "the world's central banker of international terrorism since 1979."

Bolton, an advocate of Trump's decision to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and of imposing maximum pressure on Tehran, said the administration's aim is to force all importers of Iranian crude to cut their purchases to zero.

Trump recently signed an executive order officially reinstating US sanctions against Iran. Additional US sanctions targeting Iran's oil and shipping industries will go into effect on November 4.

"It's our objective that there be no waivers from the sanctions that exports of Iranian oil and gas and condensates drops to zero. I'm not saying we're necessarily going to achieve that but no one should be operating under any illusions what the objective is," Bolton said Thursday, according to Reuters.

"You can look at the possibility of reductions leading to zero, it doesn't have to happen immediately perhaps," he added.

Bolton last week issued a warning to Iran, telling the regime in a fiery speech in New York that there will be "hell to pay" if it continues on its current course.

"If you cross us, our allies, or our partners ... yes, there will indeed be hell to pay," said Bolton at the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) annual summit.

"According to the mullahs in Tehran, we are 'the Great Satan,' lord of the underworld, master of the raging inferno," Bolton said. "So, I might imagine they would take me seriously when I assure them today: If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay."

"The ayatollahs have a choice to make. We have laid out a path toward a bright and prosperous future for all of Iran, one that is worthy of the Iranian people, who have long suffered under the regime’s tyrannical rule," added Bolton.