JAKE TAPPER, CNN: So, we have a lot of topics to get to.
I want to start with the Iran deal.
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It took a decade of worldwide sanctions against Iran to get Iran to come to the table to make this deal, which I know you and the president feel is inadequate.
Can you explain to me how you’re going to be able to get Iran to agree to a new tougher deal without the participation in sanctions of China and Russia and Europe?
BOLTON: Well, I think you have to start first with the fundamental deficiencies of the deal itself.
It would not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary, it provided cover for Iran to continue its efforts. And if it continued, it would have given Iran extraordinary economic benefits, without any guarantees of Iranian performance.
So, the rationale for getting out of the deal is that it was contrary to American national security interests when we entered into it, and it hadn’t gotten any better with age.
TAPPER: Can I just — can I just — for one second?
When you saying it provided cover for them to create an — a nuclear program, you’re talking about the sunset provisions that allow Iran — I’m just seeking clarity here — that allow Iran in seven or eight years to commence again a nuclear energy program?
BOLTON: Well, I think the sunset provisions were clearly a mistake.
But I think Iran had never made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons. I think it was testing the limits of the deal’s provisions, exceeding them in some cases. Its ballistic missile program, which continued essentially unchecked, was proof that what they were seeking was delivery systems for the nuclear weapons.
So, the president has to make a decision where America’s national interests lie. And it did not lie in continuing this deal.
Now, the consequence of the United States getting out of it is to reimpose all American sanctions as they were before the deal came into effect. And I think what we’ve seen is that Iran’s economic condition is really quite shaky, so that the effect here could be dramatic.
And I think there’s another important point here that the president has made. Because of the deal, Iran was able to take advantage of turmoil in the region to advance its interests all across the Middle East, in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, so that the consequences of being able to sell Iranian oil without restriction on the international market were providing them resources not just for their nuclear program, not just as the world’s central banker of international terrorism, but conventional hostilities across the region as well.
TAPPER: OK, so I take your point on that.
But, still, the United States imposing economic sanctions is a far cry from the United States and China and Russia and Europe imposing economic sanctions. The U.S. essentially, at least as of now, going it alone, how will that force Iran back to the table?
BOLTON: But we’re not going it alone.
We have the support of Israel. We have the support of the Arab oil-producing monarchies and many others. And the consequences of American sanctions go well beyond goods shipped by American companies, because of our technology licenses to many other countries and businesses around the world.
As those sanctions kick in, it will have an even broader effect as well.