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Bolton warns Iran: ‘there will be hell to pay’ over continued aggressive rhetoric, actions

John Bolton speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
September 26, 2018
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National Security Adviser John Bolton didn’t hold back when issuing a stern warning to Iran this week.

At the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) annual summit in New York on Tuesday, Bolton warned Iran against continuing its behavior, promising there would be “hell to pay,” according to a Fox News report.

“According to the mullahs in Tehran, we are ‘the Great Satan,’ lord of the underworld, master of the raging inferno,” Bolton said. “So, I might imagine they would take me seriously when I assure them today: If you cross us, our allies, or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.”

“If at any point we determine that the regime is expanding its enrichment activities, the United States stands ready to pursue a panoply of options, whatever may be necessary and appropriate to ensure the regime bears serious consequences for this action,” Bolton added.

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“The ayatollahs have a choice to make. We have laid out a path toward a bright and prosperous future for all of Iran, one that is worthy of the Iranian people, who have long suffered under the regime’s tyrannical rule,” Bolton said at the summit.

Bolton addressed Iran’s threatening rhetoric, including the latest in which Iranian officials blamed the U.S. and Israel for the military parade attack that killed at least 25. Hossein Salami, the deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) promised a “crushing and devastating response.”

Bolton called out Iran for their support of “the criminal Assad regime in Syria” and aiding “Assad’s chemical weapons attacks on his own people.” He also referred to Iran was the “worst kidnapper of U.S. citizens.”

His comments came just hours after President Trump spoke at the U.N. General Assembly, during which he called out “all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues.”

Tensions and back-and-forth remarks between the U.S. and Iran come as last month’s sanctions have further crippled Iran’s economy, which was already in decline since President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The deal has been widely criticized by those in the Trump Administration, who said the deal was allowing Iran to increase its military budget and nuclear capabilities.

Violent demonstrations have been waged across Iran over rising unemployment and poverty. Clashes with police have resulted in numerous arrests and some fatal shootings.  Bolton reiterated the sanctions’ “crippling” impact to Iran’s economy, and predicted that the Iranian housing market would slip into a recession.

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Still, more sanctions are to come as Iran has refused to change its course of behavior. However, the impending Nov. sanctions will begin inflicting consequences on companies who do business with Iran.

“We expect purchasers of Iranian oil to reduce to their imports to zero by November 4, or face the risk of sanctions,” Bolton said. “After November 5, President Trump intends to pursue additional sanctions,” he added, promising a “maximum pressure” effort against violators.

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