As Iranians this week mark the 40th anniversary of their country's 1979 revolution, President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton declared in a message to Iranian leaders on Monday that he doesn't think they will "have many more anniversaries to enjoy"—a comment that was immediately perceived as a direct threat of war.
"He is laying the groundwork for war and we all must be vigilant."
—Sen. Chris Murphy
In video posted to the White House's official Twitter page on Monday, Bolton echoed false assertions and repeatedly debunked claims by the Trump that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and described the Iranian government as the "central banker of international terrorism."
Responding to Bolton's video, Sen. Chris Murphy warned in a tweet on Tuesday that Trump's hawkish national security adviser is knowingly lying to build momentum for a U.S. military attack on Iran.
"Here Bolton says Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. This simply isn't true. The intelligence says the opposite and he knows it," Murphy wrote. "He is laying the groundwork for war and we all must be vigilant."
Watch Bolton's video message:
A message to the Ayatollah of Iran: "For all your boasts, for all your threats to the life of the American President, YOU are responsible for terrorizing your own people." #40YearsofFailure pic.twitter.com/gpCL1FeLis
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 11, 2019
Flipping the White House's claim that the Iranian Revolution has resulted in "40 years of failure," Javad Zarif—Iran's foreign minister—declared in a tweet on Monday, "After 40 years of wrong choices, [it is] time for Donald Trump to rethink failed U.S. policy."
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After 40 yrs of wrong choices, time for @realDonaldTrump to rethink failed US policy.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 11, 2019
Bolton's assertion that Iran is currently pursuing nuclear weapons contradicts the findings of both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Trump administration's top intelligence officials, who just last month concluded that "Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device."
"John Bolton's claim that 'Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons' is another bald-faced lie," said Ryan Costello, policy director at the National Iranian American Council. "He clearly wants a war before Trump leaves office and shouldn't be underestimated."
As Common Dreams reported last month, Bolton in 2018 called on the Pentagon to provide the Trump White House with "military options" to launch a strike on Iran. The Pentagon reportedly complied with Bolton's request, but it is unclear whether the requested information ever reached Trump.
Bolton has also teamed up with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—who has called for regime change in Iran—in an effort to "foment unrest" inside Iran with "offensive of speeches and online communications."
William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, concluded on Tuesday that "we need to be speaking out early and often against the administration's push for regime change in Iran."