Regime Change Isn’t the Goal With New Iran Sanctions, Bolton Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the goal of reimposing sanctions on Iran isn’t to foment a popular uprising or unseat the government, but rather to exert "maximum pressure" to stop Tehran from serving as the "central bank" of international terrorism.

Following an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, the U.S. imposed new restrictions intended to stop the purchase of dollar banknotes by Iran, prevent the government from trading gold and other precious metals, and block the nation from selling or acquiring various industrial metals.

The measures, which took effect at midnight in Washington, also targeted the auto industry and banned imports of Persian carpets and pistachios to the U.S.

"The policy is not regime change but we definitely want to put maximum pressure on the government," Bolton said Tuesday during an interview with Fox News. "The implications are already pretty profound. They’ll grow more profound in November."

His use of the term "maximum pressure" echoed Trump’s rhetoric in the run-up to his June meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Bolton downplayed the idea that the latest sanctions on Tehran -- which drew swift condemnation from the European Union -- would drive a wedge between the U.S. and European allies, asserting that all still share the objective of halting Iranian development of a deliverable nuclear weapon.

The EU announced it would move to ban any member country from complying with U.S. sanctions and would not recognize court rulings enforcing American penalties.

In a separate interview with the Fox Business Network, Bolton said any sanctions waivers would be “few and far between."

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