Netanyahu meets Bolton: Iran can never have nuclear weapons

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US National Security Advisor John Bolton in Jerusalem, ahead of a three-way meeting of security advisers from Israel, the US and Russia about Syria’s future and the escalating tensions with Iran.

“Iran is running a campaign of aggression but is now under enormous economic pressure due to US President Donald Trump’s sanctions”, Netanyahu said at the opening of their meeting.

“When the sanctions against Iran were lifted because of the nuclear deal and the money began to flow in, Iranian aggression surged,” said Netanyahu. “Anyone who says that this aggressiveness began only now is living in a different reality.”

“Those who supported the nuclear deal with Iran claimed that Iran would start to build and strengthen itself at home, but instead, it is building an empire. It is spreading terror, building bases in Syria, and trying to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah.”

Bolton branded Iran as a nation that is not seeking peace and warned that it should not mistake American “prudence” for weakness. Iran, he said, could never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

Tensions between the US and Iran escalated after last week’s attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the shot down of a US surveillance drone.

On Friday, President Trump did not order a missile strike against Iran, claiming that he did not want to kill an estimated 150 Iranians in retaliation for a downed unmanned drone.

Bolton reiterated that although the president stopped the strike on Thursday, it could go ahead at any point in the futures.

Russian security officer Nikolai Patrushev and Meir Ben-Shabbat, the prime minister’s national security adviser, will participate in the talks about Iranian influence in Syria, particularly through the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds terror group.

Netanyahu will meet with Patrushev on Monday and will also attend talks with aides to Patrushev and Ben-Shabbat on Tuesday.