Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton says Europe’s threatened sanctions against the import of Iranian oil would not amount to economic suicide for the continent. Bolton also told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren Tuesday that an Iranian threat against Saudi Arabia not to make up the petroleum slack if the spigot is cut off is just an effort from Tehran to hike the price of its oil.
“That’s the usual Iranian exaggeration — but what they are trying to do is back the Europeans off from their consideration of sanctions against the importation of Iranian oil,” Bolton said. “What they are threatening basically is the weakest economies in Europe: Greece, Italy, and Spain that are the biggest importers of Iranian oil. It would obviously cripple those countries even more than their current economic state.
“Today, just to complete the cycle, the Iranians threatened the Saudis too if they try to increase production — that’s part of the broader struggle within Islam between the Shia and the Sunni, and in the Middle East between Iran and the Arab states,” he said. “So all of this heats the controversy up — that’s good for Iran, too — it raises the price of oil internationally, provides more revenue, and shows the kind of economic impact that a crisis over oil can have.”
Bolton noted that any sanctions against Iran for developing a nuclear-weapons program might have some impact, but not enough to reduce the rogue nation’s progress toward its goal.
“I don’t doubt the sanctions are having an impact on Iran, but not enough to slow down or certainly not to stop the nuclear weapons program,” Bolton said. “Look at North Korea, the most heavily sanctioned country on earth, population perennially near starvation, and they have exploded two nuclear devices.
“I think the sanctions are a good thing — I would love to bring [the] regime in Tehran down, but nobody should have any illusions that the sanctions are causing Iran to slow down its nuclear-weapons program,” he said. “If you look at their conduct over the last 10 years, there are any number of things they are doing that are only consistent with a nuclear-weapons purpose. Forming uranium into hemispheres, hollow hemispheres to form the pit of a nuclear weapon, is just one example. It has nothing to do with nuclear power.”
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