John Bolton: Iran deal an 'abject surrender' for US

President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations decried the new nuclear deal with Iran as “abject surrender by the United States.”

The hawkish John Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in The Weekly Standard that U.S. negotiators agreed to a diplomatic “Hail Mary,” accepting a subpar deal in an effort to keep talks alive.

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“The inescapable conclusion is that … the White House actually did prefer a bad deal to the diplomatic process grinding to a halt,” Bolton wrote.

In particular, Bolton slammed the deal for not strictly prohibiting Iran from enriching uranium, a complaint some lawmakers have shared. He also criticized the deal, which includes limited relief from economic sanctions, as legitimizing Iran on the global scene and allowing Iran to buy time to further work on its nuclear weapons program in secret.

By opening the door to relieved sanctions, he argued, the U.S. will have a much harder time closing them in the future, even if Iran violates the tenets of the deal.

Meanwhile, he contended that Israel’s ability to conduct a military strike on Iran has become that much more difficult under the deal, as the international community has shifted to giving ongoing talks time to produce something fruitful. He argued that Iran would continue working toward a nuclear weapon in private while buying time during negotiations.

“In truth, an Israeli military strike is the only way to avoid Tehran’s otherwise inevitable march to nuclear weapons, and the proliferation that will surely follow,” he wrote. “Making the case for Israel’s exercise of its legitimate right of self-defense has therefore never been more politically important.”

Global diplomats, including the U.S., hammered out a deal early Sunday in Geneva that places new limits on Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for limited relief from sanctions. The deal has been met with bipartisan skepticism, as lawmakers in both parties are concerned about Iran's willingness to follow through on the accord.