Thursday, May 30, 2019

In UAE, Bolton accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons - News Agencies, Israel Hayom Staff

by News Agencies, Israel Hayom Staff

There is "no reason" for Iran to back out of the nuclear deal other than to seek atomic weapons, says U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. Oil tankers that were sabotaged off UAE coast in early May "almost certainly" caused by naval mines placed by Iran, he adds.

In UAE, Bolton accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons

U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton said on Wednesday there was “no reason” for Iran to back out of its nuclear deal with world powers other than to seek atomic weapons, a year after the U.S. president unilaterally withdrew America from the accord.

Bolton also claimed that the alleged sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in early May came from naval mines placed “almost certainly by Iran.”

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, the Emirati capital, he also told journalists that there had been a previously unknown attempt to attack the Saudi oil port of Yanbu as well.

“We take all of this very seriously,” he said. “These attacks were unfortunately consistent with the very serious threat information that we had been obtaining. It is one reason we increased our deterrent capability in the region.”

Bolton said the United States was trying to be “prudent and responsible” in its approach. “The point is to make it clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of activities risk a very strong response from the Americans.”

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Bolton’s claim on Yanbu, which is the terminus, or end point, of the kingdom’s East-West Pipeline. That pipeline was attacked in recent days in a coordinated drone assault launched by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

In recent weeks, tensions have soared as the U.S. beefed up its military presence in the Persian Gulf in response to a still-unexplained threat from Iran.

The U.S. also has accused Iran of being behind a string of incidents, including the alleged sabotage of oil tankers near the UAE coast and a rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, while Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels have launched a string of drone attacks targeting Saudi Arabia.

Iran, meanwhile, has announced it was backing away from the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw it limits its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord as he believes it didn’t go far enough in limiting the Iranian nuclear program, nor did it address Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Bolton said that without more nuclear power plants, it made no sense for Iran to stockpile more low-enriched uranium as it now plans to do. But the U.S. also earlier cut off Iran’s ability to sell its uranium to Russia in exchange for unprocessed yellow-cake uranium.

Iran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to offer better terms to the unraveling nuclear deal, otherwise, it will resume enrichment closer to weapons level. Bolton declined to say what the U.S. would do in response to that.

“There’s no reason for them to do [higher enrichment] unless it is to reduce the breakout time to nuclear weapons,” Bolton said.

News Agencies, Israel Hayom Staff


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