John Bolton is one of President Donald Trump’s top national security advisors and among the top voices in this administration’s push for a regime change in Iran. This is not a new goal for Bolton or the United States. In 1953, the CIA and MI6 enacted a plan known as Operation Ajax and brought about a coup d’etat which toppled the democratic government of Mohammad Mosaddegh.
Mosaddegh was a popular figure in Iran but fell afoul of the British government when he nationalized the country’s oil industry — which up until that point had been dominated by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil (which was later renamed BP for British Petroleum). The British and American governments conspired to overthrow the democratically elected government in order to increase the authority of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who they believed would allow them to maintain control over Iranian oil.
The shah continued to rule Iran until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when demonstrators largely lead by the future Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, overthrew the shah and the Islamic Republic was born. After that, Iran was placed under massive sanction and sustained attack from regional allies of the US all in hopes of establishing “friendly” control over the country’s governance.
One of the individuals in modern American politics who is particularly interested in facilitating that change is John Bolton. Ever since he was brought into the Trump administration in 2018, he has been supportive of policies seemingly designed to heighten tensions between the US and Iran. He has long supported the withdrawal of the United States from the landmark 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal despite the fact that the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has repeatedly certified that Iran has upheld the agreement, and has not been enriching uranium to the point that it could be weaponized.
Recently, John Bolton has repeatedly said that Iran played a crucial role in several attacks on ships belonging to US allies in the Persian Gulf, regardless of the fact that he provided no evidence to support this claim. These sorts of accusations are the reason plans have been presented before Trump’s highest national security aids on May 9 to send up to 120,000 American Troops to various posts in the Middle East. Additionally, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier, warplanes, and other advanced weapon systems into the region in case of further escalation.
All of these things have the potential to bring the conflict to a boiling point and “accidentally” trigger a war with Iran. However, in the case of John Bolton, one could hardly call an eventual war ending with the removal of Iran’s government an accident. (Video here 6:50) Bolton has long stated, “the declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran,” and “the behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself.” This sort of aggressive rhetoric is designed to be confrontational, and increase the temperature on the US/Iranian stalemate.
If this sequence of events — accusations without evidence, troop build up, media frenzy, followed by an impending war — sounds familiar, you’d be right. John Bolton served as an undersecretary for arms control under George W. Bush. In that position, he played a large role in pushing the narrative that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction to convince the American people to offensively invade a country that did not attack us in violation of international law (Article 2(4) of the UN Charter).
In Iraq, we see another case where the establishment of a program of fear-mongering and propaganda was used to justify invading a country that had tremendous oil reserves. In the aftermath of Saddam’s overthrowal and subsequent execution, massive oil contracts were awarded to American and allied countries’ corporations to develop the oil resources of Iraq. Not only did John Bolton participate in the implementation of the events which made that possible, he has also clearly shown he supports doing it again.
In relation to the recent coup attempt the Trump administration supported in Venezuela, Bolton gave an interview on Fox Business in which he openly suggested that the conversion of the state-owned oil resources of that country to the control of American corporations would “make a big difference to the United States,” (Video here 6:00). It should not come as a surprise that Venezuela, Iran, and Iraq hold three of the top five largest oil reserves on Earth today.
John Bolton has a lengthy track record of openly and aggressively supporting offensive wars in order to profit from invaded countries’ natural resources. He participated in the crime of the United States’ war in Iraq under the Bush administration and seems to be making headway in positioning the United States to fall into an even more difficult and costly war with Iran.