Trump adviser says Iran was 'shifting balance of power in Middle East' under 'cover' of nuclear deal


President Donald Trump‘s national security adviser said Iran has been increasingly exercising its military power in the Middle East “under cover” of its nuclear deal with the U.S. and European allies.

National Security Adviser John Bolton also commented on the U.S.’s imminent move of its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, telling ABC News’ Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz that relocating the embassy to Jerusalem will make peace “easier” because it recognizes the “reality” that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

On Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement, Bolton told Raddatz on “This Week” Sunday that “Iran was shifting the balance of power in the Middle East until President Trump got out of this deal.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump shows a signed Presidential Memorandum after delivering a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, May 8, 2018, in Washington.Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump shows a signed Presidential Memorandum after delivering a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, May 8, 2018, in Washington.

“If you look at the advances that Iran has made under cover of this agreement, its conventional military and terrorist advances, in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, since 2015, Iran was really on the march,” Bolton said.

Bolton’s appearance on “This Week” came days after the president announced he is taking the U.S out of the Iran nuclear deal and will reimpose economic sanctions on Iran at “the highest level” and will also target “any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons” with sanctions.

Trump’s move on Tuesday came despite strong opposition by European allies that are also party to the agreement.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks alongside National Security Adviser John Bolton (R) during a Cabinet Meeting in the White House, May 9, 2018. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks alongside National Security Adviser John Bolton (R) during a Cabinet Meeting in the White House, May 9, 2018.

Asked by Raddatz if the U.S. would impose sanctions on European countries that remain in the Iran agreement, Bolton suggested that could happen.

“Countries that continue to deal with Iran could face U.S. sanctions,” he said.

Raddatz asked Bolton what parts of the agreement Iran was violating. “The allies say nothing. The inspectors say nothing,” she said.

“Well, the inspectors don’t know everything,” the national security adviser said. “You can’t say honestly that Iran didn’t violate the deal because we don’t have adequate inspections.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White, May 8, 2018.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White, May 8, 2018.

He added that a “fundamental flaw” of the deal struck under former President Barack Obama was that “we have never had an adequate declaration from Iran of their prior military activities in connection with the nuclear program … That just violates every precept of sound arms control negotiation.”

“Nor have we had, since the implementation of the deal, adequate, really any, inspection of military facilities where the weaponization activities of the Iranians might be conducted,” Bolton said.

Bolton also addressed the planned opening on Monday of the U.S.’s new embassy in Jerusalem.

Raddatz asked if moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would make it harder or easier to achieve a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians, who want east Jerusalem as their capital.

“I think it will make it easier,” Bolton said. “It’s a recognition of reality. If you’re not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that’s where the American embassy should be, then you’re operating on a completely different wavelength. I think recognizing reality always enhances the chances the for peace.”



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