US President Donald Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, appear to be divided on foreign policy, with the president trying to ease US tensions with Iran, while Bolton continues to march towards confrontation, Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, told Sputnik.
“This game [between Bolton and Trump] being played, [be that] good cop-bad cop or bad cop-bad cop, isn’t actually getting anywhere,” Shadjareh told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear on Wednesday.
“It’s not going anywhere. It’s made many in the international community extremely concerned. And if Trump is not going to be told by his own administration how dangerous this rhetoric is, the Europeans and the Japanese have really briefed him quite clearly that this is not going to go anywhere.”
“The whole history of Iran shows that they are not like the Saudis or Emiratis who will get scared the minute that you attack them or abuse them verbally… There is no willingness internationally accommodating a war; a war will be a disaster,” Shadjareh added, noting that Bolton will never change his hard-line foreign policy views.
“It’s somewhat comforting to see Trump, at last, has realized that those [scare] tactics are not working [in Iran],” Shadjareh said.
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bolton accused Iran of attacking tankers located off the coast of the UAE’s Fujairah earlier this month. On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were targeted by acts of sabotage in the UAE’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Oman. According to Bolton, the four oil tankers were targeted by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”
“It’s clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack. Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?” Bolton told journalists at a press briefing at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
“There is no doubt in anybody’s minds in Washington. We know who did this, and it’s important Iran knows we know,” he added.
However, Bolton did not provide any evidence to support his statements. In addition, he claimed that there was “no reason” for Iran to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, unless it was planning on developing nuclear weapons.
“These kinds of action risk a very strong response from the United States,” Bolton warned.
Bolton’s provocative comments come just a few days after Trump clarified that the US government was not considering overthrowing the government in Iran.
“It has a chance to be a great country, with the same leadership,” Trump said at a Monday news conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the former’s presidential visit to Japan. “We’re not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons,” Trump clarified.
According to Shadjareh, it’s more likely that Israel was responsible for the Fujairah attacks than Iran. “Israel has a whole history of planting bombs on boats… there is a whole history of Israel using this as a tactic,” he said.
“Israel is full frontal trying to create this war [with Iran] and pushing the US, and they are saying it quite publicly. [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is not hiding the fact that he is pushing Trump and the US toward a war,” Shadjareh explained, also noting that a US-led war in Iran would be disastrous for the Middle Eastern country, only benefiting nations like Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“You are absolutely right that Iran will not benefit from this [a war], and indeed, those who want to start a war in the region are the only ones who are going to benefit from this sort of action. What we see from the response of Trump and many others — it seems like [the] US officially feels like it’s not going to benefit from this either,” Shadjareh told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
“Persian Gulf States like Saudi Arabia and Israel… are behind pushing the US forward to start a war in the region. It really doesn’t benefit Iran at all. Everyone knows what the capability of Iran is. Iran doesn’t have to go out in this sort of maverick way to prove its ability,” Shadjareh said, also noting that Bolton has “no credibility” when it comes to speaking the truth.