In an interview today with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) during his swing through the Caucasus following talks in Moscow earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton mentioned the possibility of a White House visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed the administration’s strong position on Iran.
“I’m convinced that Russia approaches foreign policy on the basis of its national interest, and I think we have success with Russia when both sides are straightforward about what their national interests are,” he said, commenting on his October 23 meeting with President Putin, just four days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. He described the hour-and-a-half long meeting as “very professional and extensive,” adding that he extended an invitation from President Trump to President Putin “to visit Washington after the first of the year.”
Bolton reiterated the administration’s policy to “squeeze Iran” and enforce sanctions “very vigorously,” saying Tehran’s behavior in the Middle East and globally “is malign and needs to be changed.”
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in Yerevan, a day after meetings in Baku, Azerbaijan, he praised Armenia’s prospects for democracy, and for escaping “historical patterns” that have rendered it subject to foreign influence and dependent on “one major power.”
Bolton also commented on the global challenge of “active propaganda campaigns” by many nations. He said, “That’s not what RFE/RL is,” stating that RFE/RL has a critical mission, and crediting it with giving “all sides of the story.”