White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that “it’s possible” there will be secondary sanctions imposed on European companies as a result of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
Bolton said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he believes some European countries will end up supporting the United States despite comments from European leaders that they regret Trump’s decision to withdraw.
“I think the Europeans will see that’s in their interest ultimately to go along with this,” he said.
But Bolton didn’t rule out sanctions for European companies doing business with Iran.
“It’s possible,” Bolton said. “It depends on the conduct of other governments.”
Bolton also reiterated the administration’s objection to the sunset provisions in the Iran deal, which President Donald Trump called “totally unacceptable.”
“I think you have to start first with the fundamental deficiencies of the deal itself,” Bolton said. “It would not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary, it provided cover for Iran to continue its efforts. And if it continued, it would have given Iran extraordinary economic benefits without any guarantees of Iranian performance.”
He added that he believes Iran “never made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons.”
“I think it was testing the limits of the deal’s provisions, exceeding them in some cases,” Bolton said. “Its ballistic missile program, which continued essentially unchecked, was proof that what they were seeking was delivery systems for the nuclear weapons. “
Asked about past comments of supporting regime change in Iran prior to joining the White House, Bolton said, “I’ve written and said a lot of things when I was a complete free agent.”
“Those were my opinions then,” he added. “The circumstances I’m in now is that I’m the national security adviser to the President. I’m not the national security decision-maker. He makes the decisions, and the advice I give him is between us.”