Bolton: Bush ‘doesn’t see sanctions can’t stop Iran now’

David Horovitz, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 27, 2007

Sanctions and diplomacy have failed and it may be too late for internal opposition to oust the Islamist regime, leaving only military intervention to stop Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons, the US’s former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Worse still, according to Ambassador Bolton, the Bush administration does not recognize the urgency of the hour and that the options are now limited to only the possibility of regime change from within or a last-resort military intervention, and it is still clinging to the dangerous and misguided belief that sanctions can be effective.

As a consequence, Bolton said he was “very worried” about the well-being of Israel. If he were in Israel’s predicament, he said, “I’d be pushing the US very hard. I am pushing the US [administration] very hard, from the outside, in Washington.”

Bolton, interviewed by telephone from Washington, was speaking a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced it would send a team to Teheran, at Iran’s request, to work jointly on a plan ostensibly meant to clear up suspicions about the nuclear program. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had met on Sunday with IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei, and a day earlier with top EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana.

Bolton, however, was witheringly critical of the ongoing diplomatic contacts with Teheran, which he said were merely playing into the hands of the regime.

“The current approach of the Europeans and the Americans is not just doomed to failure, but dangerous,” he said. “Dealing with [the Iranians] just gives them what they want, which is more time…

“We have fiddled away four years, in which Europe tried to persuade Iran to give up voluntarily,” he complained. “Iran in those four years mastered uranium conversion from solid to gas and now enrichment to weapons grade… We lost four years to feckless European diplomacy and our options are very limited.”

Bolton said flatly that “diplomacy and sanctions have failed… [So] we have to look at: 1, overthrowing the regime and getting in a new one that won’t pursue nuclear weapons; 2, a last-resort use of force.”

However, he added a caution as to the viability of the first of those remaining options: While “the regime is more susceptible to overthrow from within than people think,” he said, such a process “may take more time than we have.”

Overall, said Bolton, it was clear that Iran had surmounted “all the technical problems of uranium enrichment,” and it “may well be that we have passed the point of Iran mastering the nuclear fuel cycle.” If so, it was now merely a matter of time before Iran reached a bomb-making capability – “a matter of resources and available equipment,” he said – and it was solely up to Iran to set the pace.

To his dismay, however, the Bush administration was still clinging to the empty notion that the sanctions route could work, “even though [the UN’s sanction] Resolutions 1737 and 1747 were full of loopholes. The US is still seeking another sanctions resolution and Solana is still pursuing diplomacy,” he said bitterly.

Bolton lamented that the Bush administration today was “not the same” as a presumably more robust incarnation three years ago, because of what he said was now the State Department’s overwhelming dominance of foreign policy. “The State Department has adopted the European view [on how to deal with Iran] and other voices have been sidelined,” he said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “is overwhelmingly predominant on foreign policy.”

Asked where this left Israel, Bolton said simply: “Israel’s options are as limited as those of the US, except that you are in more danger in that you are closer. I hate to say that.”

Bolton, who served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security from 2001 to 2005, before taking the ambassadorial posting to the UN from August 2005 to December 2006, said the failed handling of the Iran nuclear crisis was one of the reasons he had left the Bush administration. “I felt we were watching Europe fiddling while Rome burned,” he said. “It’s still fiddling.”

June 26, 2007 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, Bolton’s realistic assessment of Iran will be dismissed as warmongering by the left which has its head buried in the sand, and actually believes that it is Israel and America and not Iran, which poses a danger to the world. Unfortunately, dhimmi western leaders also have their heads buried in the sand and will disregard Bolton’s warning until it is too late. This is 1938 all over again, only this time there’s no excuse for ignoring the threat coming from the Iranian regime since we have the history of hitler and the nazis to learn the lesson of the consequences of appeasing evil. Back in the 30’s Churchill was mocked and ignored as a drunken kook when he warned about hitler, just as people like Bolton today are regarded as crazed warmongers for warning about Iran and its genocidal mullahcratic regime. Decades from now people might wonder why no one listened to Bolton and others like him, that is if we are still around.

  2. Bush has until the end of the year to act if he does not by then he won`t. In America like here internal political considerations trump all else and If the polls say no thats what counts. From reports I have read the American military is against even though they are refining operational attack plans but it is a political descesion and the military will do what the President orders. The only scenario I can see Israel acting would be to use nukes to take out sites. Questions: Will any Israeli leader have the guts to pull this off?
    Will the US allow Israel to act alone?
    If Israel were to act, would they at the same time seek to broaden attacks to other threats, like Syria? If Israel were to attack Iran it would be an act of war! what could we expect in terms of the response? firstly by the Iranians, the whole Muslim world, Russia, China, Pakistan who have Nukes already, The reaction of EU, all the Liberal left in America?
    The element of surprise is gone as Iranians fully expect to be hit which apparently have not deterred them from continuing their efforts. Since I must assume they are not all crazy they must know something we don`t.What could that be?
    Such an act at the least will activate all the sleeper cells of the Iranian Revolutionary Gurads all over the world and they will attack in all probability not only Israeli and American targets but also Jewish targets like they or their proxy Hizbolla did in Argentina. It might move up attack timetables by their Muslim rivals Al Quida to attempt to out do them. Nobody knows how the Russians might react? etc.
    What is no less essential before Israel or America Attacks Iran is to prepare the Israeli Public, World Leaders, The Jewish Communities all over the World for the expected aftermath. As Bolton and others have predicted time is running out fast and the last thing the Israel public needs is a half baked operation that might not succeed but will leave all of us even more vulnerable afterwards even if the attacks are successful.

  3. sorry, off topic: Please read this Iranian’s commentary and see what khomeini had envisioned for Israel:

    For Imam Khomeini it was never just about Iran and that is why he simply was and could not be excited. He had not even overthrown the Shah just yet, nor established an Islamic Republic, nor even awakened the Muslims all over the world in his attempts to export the revolution. In the words of Imam Khomeini, “the culmination of the Ummah will be with the liberation of Palestine.”

    Thus, in the eyes of the Islamic Republic the game continues to be played and the championship game awaits them in Al-Qods (Jerusalem). Even with all those ambitions, Imam would still not be satisfied, for he had one last goal. His final mission was in preparing for the return of Imam Mahdi. See, most political observers will never understand Imam Khomeini because he was not your ordinary politician, in more ways than one. In the words of Dr. Algar, “it must finally be stressed that despite the amplitude of his political achievements, Imam Khomeini’s personality was essentially that of a gnostic for whom political activity was but the natural outgrowth of an intense inner life of devotion.”

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