February 10, 2017

Bolton: Designate IRGC a Terrorist Organization to Kill Nuclear Deal

John Bolton, a former UN ambassador under George W. Bush, indicated that a terror designation for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) would be a sound way to kill the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Bolton’s provocative remarks were at a panel hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) and United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), and came as the Trump administration is reportedly considering designating the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). That idea has received pushback from military and intelligence officials given the risk that it could pose to U.S. troops fighting ISIS in Iraq near Shia militias and that it would be unprecedented to designate a foreign military a terrorist group.

Bolton asserted the Trump administration is on board with his vision for Iran. When asked what Secretary Flynn meant when he declared that Iran is now “on notice” following its launch of a ballistic missile last month, Bolton indicated Flynn was advertising his intention to kill the Iran nuclear deal. “Let me give you my interpretation of what ‘on notice’ means,” said Bolton. “I think it means that the JCPOA is about one heartbeat away from disappearing.”

“Maybe if we designate the Revolutionary Guards Corp a terrorist organization, which should have happened ten years ago, maybe the Iranians will throw up their arms and say ‘it’s an outrage, we’re withdrawing from the agreement,’” stated Bolton. “Great. Then we’re in exactly the right place.”

Bolton, a notorious Iraq war champion who still stands by the decision to invade, indicated that overturning the JCPOA would just be the beginning of his approach to Iran. “My view is it should be declared American policy to overturn the regime in Tehran,” he said.

He also offered the conjecture that “it’s entirely possible—entirely possible—that the North Korean-Iranian connection is much closer than we know about and that some of Iran’s illicit nuclear activity is being carried out under mountains in North Korea.” Bolton offered no evidence to support these claims.

Also featured at the event were Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Senator Mark Kirk (former senator from Illinois), and Stephen Rademaker (former Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control under George W. Bush). None pushed back on Bolton’s calls to tear up the deal or push for regime change.

John Bolton was previously considered by the Trump administration for the role of Deputy Secretary of State. Another contender for the job, Elliott Abrams – an Iraq war booster who was convicted of misleading Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal before being pardoned by George H.W. Bush – was reportedly nixed by the President due to his criticism of Trump during the campaign.

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