Trump Aide Says Will Discuss With Moscow 'Joint Effort' to Get Iran Out of Syria

John Bolton says Putin told the U.S. he can't compel Iran to withdraw from Syria

Bolton during a press conference in Jerusalem, August 22, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, visiting in Israel, said Wednesday that he would discuss with Moscow the possibility of a "joint effort" to pull Iranian forces out of Syria.

Bolton is slated to meet with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Geneva on Thursday.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s a press conference.

Bolton, speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, said that "[Russian President Vladimir] Putin would be happy to see Iranian forces return to Iran." 

Bolton also said that Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria have been legitimate acts of self-defense.

In an interview published earlier Wednesday, Bolton said that Putin told the U.S. that Moscow could not bring about the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria.

Bolton said that Putin, who met U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16, also "told us that his interest and Iran's were not exactly the same. So we're obviously going to talk to him about what role they can play." 

Bolton also referred to Trump's peace plan, saying that its point is "to give the Palestinians captured by Hamas a chance for a decent, good life," though he said the U.S. has no "timetable."

Bolton said that Trump's comment, that Israel would have to "pay a higher price" in future peace talks with the Palestinians after the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem, was "not an issue of quid pro quo."

Bolton said that he and anyone else would expect Palestinians to say "so we didn't get that one, now we want something else," adding that "ultimately this is something the parties are going to have to agree on."