Vastavam web: Iran warned on Wednesday it would hit U.S. and Israeli targets if it were attacked by the United States after President Donald Trump’s security adviser said Washington would exert maximum pressure on Tehran going beyond economic sanctions. A U.S.-Iranian war of words has escalated since Trump withdrew Washington from the world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran in May, blasting it as flawed and reimposing sanctions to choke Iran’s economy and force it to renegotiate or change direction. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told Reuters the return of U.S. sanctions was having a strong effect on Iran’s economy and popular opinion.
“There should not be any doubt that the United States wants this resolved peacefully, but we are fully prepared for any contingency that Iran creates,” Bolton said during a visit to Israel, Iran’s enemy in the Middle East. European powers have been scrambling to ensure Iran secures enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal. This has proven difficult, with many European firms keen to avoid financial penalties by the Trump administration. “So we will see what plays out in November. But (Trump) has made it very clear – his words – he wants maximum pressure on Iran, maximum pressure, and that is what is going on.”
Asked at a news conference later whether the United States had discussed any plans with ally Israel on how to capitalise on economic protests in Iran and if these posed any tangible threat to the Tehran government, Bolton said: “Just to be clear, regime change in Iran is not American policy. But what we want is massive change in the regime’s behaviour … We are going to do other things to put pressure on Iran as well, beyond economic sanctions.” He did not elaborate.