All tagged John Bolton

Bolton to Press Britain's Johnson on Iran

◢ US National Security Advisor John Bolton was Monday to sound out British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on global disputes that include an escalating Gulf standoff with Iran. The hawkish White House aide is the most senior US official to meet Johnson since he succeeded Theresa May as UK government leader last month.

US Renews Waivers for Iran Civil Nuclear Projects

◢ The United States said Wednesday it was extending waivers for three civilian nuclear projects in Iran, despite Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement. "This is a short 90 day extension," said White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, a champion of the hawkish policy towards Tehran.

Trump Ordered Military Strike Against Iran, Then Called It Off

◢ The U.S. called off military strikes against Iran on Thursday night that were approved by President Donald Trump, according to an administration official, abandoning a move that would have dramatically escalated tensions that are already running high between the two countries. The attack, ordered after Iranian forces shot down a U.S. Navy drone over the Strait of Hormuz, would have involved airstrikes and was close to being carried out when it was stopped.

Arab, Muslim Leaders Gather in Mecca for Iran-Focused Summits

◢ Arab and Muslim leaders began gathering in the holy city of Mecca on Thursday for three summits, as Saudi Arabia seeks to rally support against arch-rival Iran over attacks on oil installations. On the eve of the talks, Riyadh blasted what it called Iranian "interference" in the region and demanded "firmness" over attacks on Gulf oil tankers and pipelines.

Trump Says He's Not Looking to Topple Iranian Leadership

◢ U.S. President Donald Trump said he isn’t pursuing regime change in Iran but aims to keep it from developing nuclear weapons, in an apparent effort to tamp down tensions that have led to fears of war. Iran “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership,’’ Trump said at a joint press conference in Tokyo on Monday alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

U.S. Sends 1,500 Troops to Mideast After Blaming Attacks on Iran

◢ President Donald Trump ordered more troops to the Middle East as the Pentagon blamed Tehran for recent attacks in the region, yet the small scale of the U.S. move signaled a desire to avoid a further escalation of tensions between the two nations. The U.S. will bolster forces in the region by about 1,500 troops, though Trump and the Pentagon said that the deployment is for defensive purposes.

U.S. Pulls Iraq Embassy Staff as Tensions Climb Higher Over Iran

◢ The U.S. ordered its non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq amid increasing Middle East tensions that American officials are blaming on Iran, as fears rise that the region may be heading toward another conflict. Most employees at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil, in the majority Kurdish region, will leave due to an “increased threat stream,” according to an embassy statement Wednesday.

Trump Says Iran Will `Suffer Greatly' If U.S. Is Provoked

◢ President Donald Trump warned Iran against a military provocation and said the country “will suffer greatly” if hostilities break out with the U.S. “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything it’ll be a very bad mistake, if they do anything,” Trump told reporters on Monday during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House.

US Sending B-52s to Middle East Against Iran 'Threat'

◢ The US Air Force is deploying massive B-52 Stratofortress bombers to the Gulf in response to an alleged possible plan by Iran to attack American forces in the region, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The US move comes in response to intelligence about a threat orchestrated by Iran, officials said, but details of the threat have not been disclosed.

Risks Rise as US Warns Iran with Aircraft Carrier

◢ Fears of conflict rose Monday as the United States vowed to send a message to Iran by deploying an aircraft carrier strike group, amid a report that Tehran would scale back its commitments under a nuclear deal after mounting pressure by President Donald Trump. Patrick Shanahan, the acting US defense secretary, said he approved the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group to unspecified waters in the vicinity of Iran.

Fresh U.S. Divide on Iran Emerges Over Expiring Nuclear Waivers

◢ A fresh divide is emerging between some Trump administration officials and hard-line opponents of Iran in the Senate over how far to go in the White House’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic. In a letter to President Donald Trump this week, a group of Republican senators demanded that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo stop letting Iran continue its limited civilian nuclear research program.

Trump Team Split Over Iran Oil Waivers as Next Deadline Nears

◢ President Donald Trump’s national security team is deeply divided over whether to let a small group of countries keep buying Iranian oil after a U.S. deadline on sanctions waivers expires in May. Now that fight is getting ugly. The division—primarily between John Bolton’s National Security Council and Michael Pompeo’s State Department—has led to rising frustration and flared tempers.

Europe Not to be Trusted: Iran Leader

◢ Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that Europe "cannot be trusted", a week after the EU launched a trade mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Tehran. “These days there's talk of the Europeans and their proposals. My advice is that they shouldn't be trusted, just like the Americans," he said at a meeting with air force officials, his website reported.

Albania Expels Iranian Diplomats for 'Harming Security'

◢ Albania has expelled two Iranian diplomats, including the ambassador according to a US official, who are suspected of "involvement in activities that harm the country's security," the Balkan state said Wednesday. "The decision to declare them 'persona non grata' was taken after consultations with countries allied to Albania," Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Edlira Prendi told reporters. 

Trump Sanctions Set to Bite Iran, But What Next?

◢ Six months after President Donald Trump bolted from a nuclear deal on Iran, the United States from Monday will try to strangle the country's economy with sweeping sanctions, but doubts abound on how effective the campaign will be. But much has changed since the Obama administration targeted Iran's economy in 2012. Obama won broad international support as he set a goal of bringing Iran to the table to end its nuclear program.

After Bolton Takes aim at Russia and Iran, is Armenia the Collateral Damage?

◢ Befitting his bull-in-a-china-shop reputation, John Bolton's whirlwind tour of the Caucasus left a trail of geopolitical wreckage that his hosts are still trying to pick up even after Bolton himself is back in Washington. As expected, the visit of Bolton, the U.S. National Security Adviser, focused on getting the states of the South Caucasus—Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan—on board with Washington's efforts to isolate Iran.

Bolton Visits Caucasus Amid Anti-Iran Campaign

◢ A senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump is visiting the Caucasus, where he is expected to try to enlist the region's three governments in Washington's campaign of isolating Iran. But leaders in the Caucasus, wary of confronting Tehran, will likely instead be promoting their own interests to an administration that has thus far largely neglected the region.

White House Insists Not Seeking Iran Regime Change

◢ The White House insisted Monday it was not seeking the overthrow of Iran's clerical regime even as it seeks at the United Nations to pile pressure on Tehran. "As I have said repeatedly, regime change in Iran is not the administration's policy," national security advisor John Bolton told reporters as he previewed President Donald Trump's week at the global body.

Netanyahu and Top Trump Aide Call on Europe to Pressure Iran

◢ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump's national security adviser met in Jerusalem Monday and called on European nations to do more to pressure Iran. John Bolton arrived in Israel on Sunday for three days of talks expected to focus mainly on Iran and its presence in Syria. Netanyahu strongly urged Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal between Israel's main enemy Iran and world powers, and the US president did so in May, resulting in the reimposition of sanctions.