'America and its allies in the Middle East are planning to present evidence of Iranian complicity in the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf to the United Nations Security Council, according to John Bolton, the US national security adviser.
Speaking in London before Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK next week, Mr Bolton warned that the “threat was not over” from Iran and that the country “will be held accountable”.
“There will be strong response” to any further acts of violence, he added. He accused Tehran of involvement either directly, or through proxy forces, in carrying out attacks on international shipping, oil pipelines and port facilities in neighbouring countries.
Mr Bolton made his charge amid rising tension in the region after the US dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers and ordered the deployment of additional ground troops.
It also comes during continuing friction between the Trump administration and western allies, including Britain, over the Iran nuclear deal.
Mr Bolton claimed in Abu Dhabi, on his way to London, that it was “clear that Iran is behind” the attacks on the tankers and that “naval mines almost certainly from Iran” caused the damage to the ships.
Tehran has described the charges as “ludicrous,” with the Foreign Ministry declaring that “Iran’s strategic patience, vigilance [and] defensive prowess will defuse mischievous plots made by Bolton and other warmongers”.
Mr Bolton has called for regime change in Tehran on numerous occasions in the past, as the Iranian government of Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly pointed out. President Trump stated earlier this year that the US was not seeking regime change and repeated calls for talks with the leadership in Tehran.
Asked whether he was at odds with the president on this issue of regime change, Mr Bolton said that “before I became national security advisor I said and wrote a lot of things on every subject. I believed what I wrote then and I still do. But I am national security adviser, not national security decision maker.
“The policy we are pursuing is not a policy of regime change, that’s a fact and everybody should understand that.”'
Read more: US and allies set to present ‘evidence’ of Iran attacks in Middle East, as Bolton denies policy rift with Trump
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