Netanyahu welcomes Bolton, accuses Trump’s Iran critics of living ‘on another planet’

Meeting with the Israeli premier, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton says to “stay tuned” for new sanctions on Iran.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to the media together with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday, defended President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

He said that those who blame America’s withdrawal from the deal and the re-imposition of sanctions for Iran’s stepped-up aggression are living “on another planet.”

Netanyahu said that Iran had been involved in aggressive military actions long before the Trump pullout from the 2015 nuclear pact reached with world powers and that in fact, the renewal of sanctions is putting “unprecedented economic pressure” on Tehran to stop its aggression.

“No one has granted them [Iran] a hunting license in the Middle East,” Bolton said in his statement to reporters. He reiterated comments made earlier by Trump that the decision not to attack was only “at this time,” but that a future strike was not ruled out.

He also echoed the president in saying new sanctions would be announced on Monday.

“Stay tuned,” said Bolton.

He cited many countries in which Iran has been involved in destabilizing activity, including Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Afganistan.

Last week, Iran downed an American drone in the area of the Strait of Hormuz. On Friday, Trump confirmed that he decided against a retaliatory strike on the Islamic Republic, which he had earlier approved in the aftermath of the downing of the unmanned aircraft.

Amid the heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Bolton arrived in Israel on Saturday and will take part in tripartite consultations with Israeli and Russian national security chiefs.

Bolton tweeted upon his arrival in the Jewish State, “Nice to be back in Israel. Looking forward to meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu tomorrow [Sunday] & my counterparts from Israel & Russia, Meir Ben-Shabbat & Nikolay Patrushev, to discuss regional security.”

Though the top-level security meeting, to take place on Tuesday, was planned long before the recent Gulf tensions, Bolton said that the latest developments made the encounter “even more timely.”

Iran’s presence in Syria was due to be a focus of the consultations. Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to stop Iranian “entrenchment” in Syria.

Russia has been an active player in the Syrian quagmire, generally helping the Assad regime but also reportedly at times helping rebels fighting in Syria.

Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held several meetings and reportedly have also spoken by phone a number of times as Moscow and Jerusalem try to ensure, not always successfully, that they are coordinated even as each looks out for sometimes conflicting interests.

Bolton said Sunday that Netanyahu’s close ties with both Trump and Putin “augur well for the chances of success” of this week’s tripartite meeting.

The U.S. president had earlier announced that American troops would be withdrawn from Syria but was swayed by Netanyahu to at least slow the process.

Bolton said that he hoped that details would be worked out this week toward arranging a Trump-Putin meeting at the upcoming G20 summit.