US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday reaffirmed that the Iranian regime must “change its behavior” for a dialogue to start or face further consequences as tensions between the two countries escalate.

Echoing the words of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Bolton, during a press conference in Jerusalem, affirmed that “regime change in Iran is not American policy.”

“What we want is massive change in the regime’s behavior.”

“When they are ready to conform to that, then there is the possibility of a settlement,” Bolton stated.

If Tehran continues on the path it currently is on, however, the US is “going to do what the president [Donald Trump] has said repeatedly and exert maximum pressure on Iran to make it clear they will never get deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton added.

He argued that the international nuclear accord with Iran, “which has been the central backer of international terrorism since 1979,” mitigated Tehran’s “mismanagement” of the country’s economy, giving it new life.

The deal “gave the regime new life… new assets that it could use for its nuclear program, ballistic missile program, its terrorist support activities and conventional military activities.”

Bolton added that the Iran nuclear deal contributed to Iran’s growing dominance over middle-eastern and “empowered its belligerency.”

“The fundamental political premise that underlay the Obama administration’s policy was wrong; That being that if you could resolve the nuclear issue with Iran, its behavior would change.”

“That was 180 degrees the opposite of what happened,” Bolton affirmed.

The Trump administration’s decision to re-impose sanctions, however, has had a “profound negative effect on Iran,” more serious than “we would have predicted,” Bolton said.

Iran’s already-struggling economy was strained further as the Rial plummeted in value these past few months, rekindling sporadic protests across the country in which demonstrators shouted “death to the dictator,” referring to the regime.

The US imposed one set of sanctions on Iran earlier this month, dealing with the import of Iranian metals and automobiles. The more critical sanctions, however, are set to take effect on November 5 and will include Iran’s oil, financial, and shipping sectors.

As the US continues to apply pressure on Iran through sanctions, the situation is likely to worsen economically for the country who is also involved in costly regional conflicts.

“It’s just regular people saying they are fed up with the government,” Bolton said of the protests, adding that he believed they were a continuation of the December protests that swept the country.

“I think they are continuing and growing and that’s an issue the regime is going to have to factor in.”

“They know what we expect of them,” Bolton affirmed.

Source » kurdistan24