According to president Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif payed a surprise visit to the 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Bolton recalled that Trump initially raised the news with French President Emmanuel Macron – “who lived for the Iran nuclear deal,” according to Bolton. The Jpost reports that this came after Zarif claimed that Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were trying to prevent Zarif from speaking with Trump.
The highly anticipated meeting came at a time when Iran was increasing its military presence in the region by supplying arms to Houthis in Yemen and Iraqi Shia militias. The Islamic Republic was also propping up Assad in Syria as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon. Making matters worse, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran intended on ignoring important clauses in the nuclear deal.
At the summit, Bolton penned a note to Trump warning him that Zarif was about to land in Biarritz on France’s southwestern coast. At that point, Macron invited Trump to meet with Zarif claiming that “POTUS definitely wants to do this.”
Netanyahu explained to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he would like to talk to Trump about the prospective Zarif meeting. Then Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also called Bolton.
On the way to speak with Trump, Bolton saw Trump’s Mid-East Adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner speaking with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman over the phone, saying that he wouldn’t permit Netanyahu’s call to go through to Trump.
“When he hung up, Kushner explained he had stopped this and an earlier effort by Netanyahu because he didn’t think it was appropriate for a foreign leader to talk to Trump about whom he should speak to,” Bolton says.
Bolton then told Trump that he believed that the meeting with Zarif was a bad idea, partially because “once we took the pressure off Iran, it would be very hard to put it back on.” Kushner, on the other hand, believed that there was nothing to lose by meeting with Zarif.
“These people had an attention span no longer than the deal in front of them,” Bolton said about Kushner.
And although Trump never did end up meeting with Zarif, Bolton was worried that Kushner or Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin might have met with Zarif, noting that “this latter hypothesis was something that I believed agitated and worried senior Israeli officials, and which of course made Pompeo livid.”
A US judge rejected a request by the White House for an injunction to block publicizing Bolton’s book on Saturday, adding that it is already in newsrooms worldwide and excerpts were already published.
None-the-less, US District Judge Royce Lamberth accused Bolton of having “gambled with the national security of the United States” by publishing without receiving approval by the Washington.
A civil suit against Bolton is pending. The suit is looking to force Bolton to give Washington the right to all profits made by the book.
Trump called Bolton “treasonous” in a Fox News interview, adding “he should go to jail for that for many, many years.”