Former US ambassador to the UN says every day that goes by "puts Israel in greater danger," urges Israel to stop waiting.
“Israel should have attacked Iran yesterday – every day that goes by puts Israel in greater danger, every day Iran makes more progress,” John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday.
“I can understand why Israel wants us to take action, but the longer Israel waits for something that is not going to happen, the greater the danger Israel is in,” the senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute said.
The US and Israel cannot expect to have perfect intelligence about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but if Israel attacked Iran after it gained that capability, there could be “nuclear retaliation,” he said.
During his first term, President Barack Obama implied that the US would not resupply Israel with weapons used in attacking Iran, Bolton said. He added that overwhelming congressional support would have forced the issue of resupplying Israel in any case.
Now he thinks the situation has changed and the issue is whether the US would take the necessary measures to make the case that Israel was acting legitimately in self-defense.
The interview, coming a day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Iran was approaching the red line he set out at the UN last September, constituted a warning that Israel could attack Iran as a last resort to prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons capability.
Asked about the chances that the US president would order an attack before any Israeli one, Bolton responded skeptically, “It would take a character transplant for Obama to order a US attack.”
Bolton believes that the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president will serve as a trap for the US, which will lull it into a false sense of security and more negotiations, inevitably leading to a nuclear Iran.
One can already see this by the reaction of the EU and the White House to Rouhani’s election, he said.
“The idea that Rouhani will negotiate seriously shows that this administration is on a different planet.”
There have been more than 10 years of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and it has just kept building “a broad and deep infrastructure,” he said.
“Rouhani is a snare for the unwary and we fell right into it,” said Bolton asserting that the main difference between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the “moderate” president-elect is only rhetorical.
“The moderates say, ‘Stop talking about it,’ and the radicals don’t stop talking about it.” In fact, “Rouhani boasted repeatedly about how he had suckered the EU during negotiations.”
Regarding the regional fallout of an attack on Iran, Bolton said it is important that Israel and the US are politically aligned and sharing intelligence.
And regarding US policy on Egypt and throughout the region, Bolton said the policy is “incoherent” because Obama does not understand the nature of radical Islam and the risk it poses. Obama believes that talking about Islam would be perceived in the region as attacking the religion even though Muslims are aware of the radical Islam issue.
Bolton said that the only mistake the Egyptian military made so far was allowing Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, become vice president.
And on Syria, he said that at this point the principal US interest is that chemical and biological weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorists. The country is going through a great tragedy, Bolton said, but he does not see supporting the opposition as a viable option.
Asked about speculation regarding a presidential run in 2016, Bolton responded that he has not made a decision about running, but if he were to, it would be to get national security issues back to the center of political debate. International issues have “dropped under the radar screen,” and he would try to reverse that trend, he said.