Bolton: US would support preemptive Israeli strike on Iran
John Byrne
Published: Tuesday September 18, 2007

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President Bush's former United Nations ambassador John Bolton said the United States would stand behind a pre-emptive strike by Israel against countries developing "WMD facilities."

In his remark, printed in Tuesday's edition of the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot, Bolton directly referenced Iran.

"The greatest concern is to prevent Iran and other countries in the region from acquiring nuclear weapons," Bolton said, according to, a Jewish news service. "We're talking about a clear message to Iran -- Israel has the right to self-defense --and that includes offensive operations against WMD facilities that pose a threat to Israel. The United States would justify such attacks."

Bolton's remarks follow an Israeli airstrike on Syria Sept. 6 against what US officials described as an effort to attack nuclear material the country had received from North Korea.

"Nobody thinks the use of force is an attractive option," Bolton continued, according to a second report. "But let's come down to the real question: is the use of force as an alternative preferable to Iran having nuclear weapons? No question about it, in my view."

Bolton added that any Iranian strike would involve a "limited" airstrike on uranium enrichment targets rather than an invasion like Iraq. He disagreed with retired Gen. John Abizaid who said today, "I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear.

Bolton demurred.

"The notion that living under the threat of a possible use of Iranian nuclear weapons ... may appeal to some people but it's not the kind of life I want to live and I don't think it's the kind of life that people in Israel, for example, or other American friends and allies in the region are happy to live with," he said.

Asked whether Israel has the capability to strike Iran, he added, "In fact it's so clear that on the MIT website there's a paper by two individuals that detail from open sources just exactly how the Israelis could do it."


The following video is from Australian Broadcasting's Lateline, broadcast on September 18.