This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has called Iran “the central banker of international terrorism” as he laid out a wider strategy for countering Tehran in the Middle East.
John Bolton told reporters on October 4 that the U.S. strategy toward Iran would use both military and nonmilitary means to push back on Iranian-backed militants, and their financial backers.
Bolton made the announcement as part of the release of a new U.S. counterterrorism strategy, the first since 2011.
“Radical Islamist terrorist groups represent the preeminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United States’ interests abroad,” Bolton said according to a White House transcript.
Iran, he said, had been “the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979.”
Since taking office, Trump has taken an aggressive approach toward Iran, including pulling out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
Next month, the Trump administration plans to impose new sanctions on Iran’s oil sector on with the aim of stopping Tehran’s involvement in conflicts in Syria and Iraq and forcing new negotiations of its ballistic missile program.
Earlier October 4, the top U.S. general overseeing U.S. operations in the Middle East said Washington was not seeking war with Iran.
“I don’t think we’re seeking to go to war with Iran, and I don’t think that’s what we’re focused on,” General Joseph Votel told Pentagon reporters.