Interviews

Amb. John Bolton: The US is on to Iran's game

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 1, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, the White House, as you know, has already put Iran on notice over violating not only the nuclear agreement, we say, but U.N. sanctions and agreements to end them over there.  

But we're also getting words that a number of Republican congressmen have already introduced a new Iran sanctions bill that would be far more sweeping.  

Fast-moving developments we want to raise with the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who is up on Capitol Hill.

Ambassador, what do you make of these quick-moving developments?  Either beef of sanctions or more?  

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS:  Well, I think Michael Flynn's statement is extremely significant.  

It says really for the first time in an official statement in about eight years that the United States is on to Iran's game.  And it does put them on notice that this administration is not the last administration in case they hadn't noticed it.  

This deal was a strategic mistake for the United States when it was made. It should be abrogated at the earliest moment.  And I think you see the legislation you mentioned ago that has been introduced in the House of Representatives couldn't come at a better moment.  And if the Iranians don't like it, let them pull out of the deal.  

CAVUTO:  All right, now let's say they do pull out of the deal, or more likely we redo the deal or cancel the deal and there are risks in that I raised with a Republican Congress who knows what that could mean longer term.  But the Iranians have already gotten billions of dollars.  Right? So, they have got the money.  They can literally run now, right?  
 
BOLTON:  Well, that's one of the reasons this was such a poorly negotiated deal.  The Iranians got the benefits up front and their compliance is due at the back end.  

But the fact is, I don't believe they have ever given up their desire to have a deliverable nuclear weapon.  And I think they're violating this deal right now.  So there's a lot of different ways you can approach it.  But the political significance of ending the deal says unequivocally to the rest of the world, we will not let Iran get to nuclear weapons.  

This failed missile test that apparently provoked the legislation, Pentagon sources are saying that the failure of the test came at the reentry stage. You know, missiles that launch communications and weather satellites don't have reentry to worry about.  

What you have reentry to worry about is a nuclear weapon under a nose cone. So, the fact they were testing at the reentry level shows exactly what the Iranian missile program is for.  It's to deliver nuclear weapons.  

This deal is a sham.  It's a danger to the United States, to Israel, to our Arab friends in the Middle East.  The sooner we get rid of it, the better.

CAVUTO:  So what posture should you take?  Obviously, General Flynn was making it clear there's a new sheriff in town, to your point, also making it clear that such provocative actions wouldn't go unanswered.  Are sanctions enough then or what?  

BOLTON:  No.  

Look, I think the sanctions, it's true, brought Iran to the negotiating table.  But getting the Europeans and others back on the sanctions I think is going to be very, very difficult.  

I think this deal has caused the United States incalculable damage because it's put us at ease for a year-and-a-half years when I have every confidence Iran was continuing its illicit nuclear activities.  

So I think we are going to have to face in the very near future -- and Israel will probably face it before we do -- whether you're prepared to live with a nuclear Iran, because that is the track they're on, absent much stronger action that has even been on the table for the last eight years.  

It may well be that the credible threat of force finally gets the Iranians' attention.  And I think they know Barack Obama is gone.  They have a new president.  And credible is something that he's demonstrated, big league, as he has says, in the last 10 days.  

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO:  All right, Ambassador, very good having you.  Thank you very, very much.

BOLTON:  Thank you, Neil.  

END

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