BAGHDAD, Iran warned on Wednesday it would hit US and Israeli targets if it came under attack from the United States after US president adviser for national security, John Bolton said Washington would put maximum pressure on Tehran beyond economic sanctions.
The war of words between the United States and Iran has escalated since Trump announced in May Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and six world powers, calling it flawed. The US president again imposed sanctions on Tehran to stifle its economy and force it to renegotiate or change its policies.
The US change, which has shaken a cautious breakthrough between the two countries after decades of hostility, has met Tehran's challenge despite renewing turmoil over economic difficulties and worries of other major powers that are still considering the idea of pulling out from dealing with Tehran.
The US national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters that the re-imposition of US sanctions has a strong impact on Iran's economy and public opinion there.
"There must be no doubt that the United States wants to resolve the issue peacefully, but we are fully prepared for any possibility from Iran," he said during a visit to Israel.
Washington has imposed new sanctions targeting Iran's auto industry, gold and precious metals trading and Tehran's purchases of the US dollar. Trump said the United States would impose another package of sanctions, which would be stronger, in November and target Iranian oil sales and the banking sector.
European powers are seeking to ensure that Iran has enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the agreement. The difficulty has been proved by the concern of many European companies of large-scale US sanctions. French oil group Total has withdrawn from a major gas project in Iran.
"We expect Europeans, as companies across Europe know, to realize that the choice is very clear between dealing with Iran and dealing with the United States," Bolton said.
At a news conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Bolton was asked whether the United States had discussed any plans with Israel on how to take advantage of economic protests in Iran and whether the demonstrations posed any threat to Tehran government, Bolton replied "Let's be clear, regime change in Iran is not an American policy. But what we want is a radical change in the behavior of the regime. "
Source: National Iraqi News Agency