US National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday morning in Jerusalem, after arriving in Israel late Saturday night.
At the opening of their meeting, Netanyahu warned that the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015, and the lifting of sanctions on Tehran had emboldened the Islamic republic and led to the recent spate of attacks by Iranian forces.
“Iran has long been conducting a campaign of aggression and terror across the region – in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen and elsewhere," said Netanyahu. "When sanctions against Iran were removed a few years ago as part of the nuclear deal and tens of billions of dollars began to pour into Iran’s coffers, Iran’s aggression increased dramatically.”
"The supporters of the Iran deal argued that the infusion of cash, massive cash into Iran’s economy, would moderate Iran. They argued that Iran would become inward-focused, would start nation-building."
"And in fact, the opposite has happened. The very opposite has happened. Iran used those hundreds of billions of dollars to fund empire-building, not nation-building – that is the stamping of one state after the other, and the devouring of one state after another in the Middle East. Those who argue that Iran’s aggression began after the recent actions are not living on the same planet. This is completely false."
"We in Israel saw Iran’s aggression in their increased efforts to establish Iranian military bases in Syria, in their increased efforts to provide sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, in their increased financial support for terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
"This increased right after the deal, right after the deal. With the removal of sanctions, we in Israel could see an explosion of terror and aggression. Likewise, our Arab neighbors saw exactly the same thing. They saw Iran’s aggression in Iran’s increased support for terror groups that threaten them, from the Shiite militias in Iraq to the Houthis in Yemen."
Bolton warned Iran not to confuse America’s “prudence” with weakness, after President Trump ruled out a military strike against Iran over its downing of an American drone aircraft.
"Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness," said Bolton. "No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East. Our military is rebuilt new and ready to go."
Trump’s National Security Advisor also said that the US and would never permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, adding that Iran would be hit by a new round of sanctions on Monday.
"We expect that the new sanctions president Trump referred to in preparation for some weeks will be announced publicly on Monday. Stay tuned."
Netanyahu met with Bolton ahead of a summit in Israel between the top security advisers of the US, Israel, and Russia.
Russia’s Nikolai Patrushev, Israel’s Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Bolton are slated to meet later on Sunday to discuss Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the recent spate of attacks linked to Tehran.
Last Wednesday night, Iranian forces shot down an unmanned American aircraft which the US claims was flying over international waters.
The US has blamed Iran for attacks on multiple oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
Two tankers from Norway and Japan were attacked in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month. The US and its allies have also accused "Iran and its proxies" of being behind the May 12 attacks on four tankers anchored in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah.
Iran also reportedly fired a missile at an American drone aircraft earlier this month, but failed to down the aircraft.