May 13, 2018 / 4:58 PM / 4 months ago

Bolton - 'Regime change' in Iran not policy of Trump administration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House national security adviser John Bolton, who has in the past suggested the U.S. government should push for a change in government in Iran, said on Sunday that is not the Trump administration’s current policy.

National Security Advisor John Bolton attends U.S. President Donald Trump's a bilateral meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S., April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“That’s not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton said on the ABC programme “This Week.”

“I’ve written and said a lot of things over the years when I was a complete free agent,” Bolton said when pressed on the issue regime change in Iran on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Bolton, whom President Donald Trump tapped in March to replace former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, emphasized in the CNN interview that it was his job to advise Trump but that the president is the one who makes the decisions.

“The circumstances in I’m in now is that I’m the national security adviser to the president. I’m not the national security decision maker. He (Trump) makes the decisions and the advice I give him is between us.”

In a Fox News interview in January, Bolton said the United States should take steps such as increasing economic pressure on Iran and providing support to opponents of the government.

“There’s a lot we can do to, and we should do it,” said Bolton, who at the time was with the American Enterprise Institute think tank. “Our goal should be regime change in Iran.”

In 2015, Bolton wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. And in 2016, Bolton called for regime change while he was reportedly under consideration to be Secretary of State.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Caren Bohan; Editing by David Gregorio

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