Iran General NewsBolton: Iran regime can stay if ends arms pursuit

Bolton: Iran regime can stay if ends arms pursuit

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Reuters: John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Monday that Iran’s leaders could stay in power and improve their ties with Washington if they ended their pursuit of nuclear arms. By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Monday that Iran’s leaders could stay in power and improve their ties with Washington if they ended their pursuit of nuclear arms.

He later insisted, however, that he had not meant to threaten Tehran with regime change if its leaders failed to do so.

Bolton, addressing a meeting of B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish humanitarian organisation, cited Washington’s move last week to normalise relations with Libya after that country gave up its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and said Iran’s leaders faced a similar “clear choice.”

“This is a sign to the rulers in Tehran that if they give up their long-standing support for terrorism and they give up their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, that their regime can stay in place and that they can have a different relationship with the United States and the rest of the world,” he said.

Asked by reporters afterward about those comments, he said he did not mean to imply the United States would seek a change in the Iranian regime if Tehran refused to suspend its enrichment of uranium, as the U.N. Security Council has demanded.

“What it says is, if you do what Libya did, the same thing will happen,” he said. “The ‘regime stay’ strategy is following the Libyan example.”

It was “flatly wrong,” he added, to argue that Western powers wanted the Security Council to adopt a resolution that was legally binding on Iran “as an excuse to use force for regime change or anything else.”

Iran insists it wants only to produce energy for civilian use, but Western powers led by the United States, Britain, France and Germany argue it is using a civilian nuclear program as a cover for producing the highly enriched uranium needed for atomic bombs.

London, Paris and Berlin, working with Washington, are drafting an offer of incentives to Tehran if it agrees to curb its nuclear ambitions, twinned with disincentives should it fail to do so.

“I’ve probably said a thousand times that the Libya example is there for both North Korea and Iran to see, and that’s all I’ve ever said and this wasn’t any different,” Bolton said.

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