NEW YORK – targeted Iran in an aggressive speech on Tuesday, warning Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani not to “cross” the United States.
John Bolton told the American group United Against a Nuclear Iran, which has campaigned for a hawkish approach to Iran’s nuclear program, that the US would use “every tool in its toolbox” to pursue Soleimani and that “there will be hell to pay” for regime officials who have targeted US troops and interests region-wide.
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“The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over,” Bolton said. “The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today be clear: We are watching, and we will come after you.”
Soleimani led a strategy in Iraq of using proxies to kill American soldiers during the US-led war there, and has spearheaded Tehran’s military efforts to keep Bashar Assad in power in Syria.
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Before becoming national security adviser, Bolton advocated for regime change in Iran, characterizing the government there as corrupt, dictatorial, undemocratic and destabilizing to the region as a whole. The Trump administration has adopted the essence of Bolton’s view without calling for regime change outright.
The presidents of Iran and the US traded insults in dueling speeches at the UN on Tuesday, with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani calling Trump an authoritarian figure with a “Nazi disposition.”
“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction,” Trump charged. “They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.”
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