Bolton Says Iran Is Likely Responsible for Oil Tanker Attacks

John R. Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, on Wednesday accused Iran of playing a key role in recent attacks on ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, the latest instance in which he has articulated a more hawkish view than his boss toward Iran.

Ratcheting up his criticism of Tehran, Mr. Bolton tied the attacks this month on four oil vessels at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”

President Trump withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear accord that world powers struck with Iran and then reimposed broad sanctions, but in his comments to journalists during a visit to the emirates, reported by Reuters and The Associated Press, Mr. Bolton said there was “no reason” for Iran to breach the nuclear deal unless it were actually seeking atomic weapons.

“There’s no reason for them to do it unless it is to reduce the breakout time to nuclear weapons,” he told journalists in Abu Dhabi, according to The A.P.

Mr. Bolton’s remarks in the emirates, a key American ally in the region, come as Mr. Trump has increasingly taken public issue with some of Mr. Bolton’s more provocative assertions about Iran and its motivations.

For instance, the president said during his just-completed trip to Japan that he was not in favor of regime change in Tehran, an approach that Mr. Bolton had expressed support for before moving back into government.

The tensions over the reported maritime attacks, in which four vessels were said to be damaged this month, raised fears of an armed conflict in the region and concerns about possible disruptions to the world’s oil supplies.

The United States had earlier tightened sanctions against Iran and mobilized an aircraft carrier, bombers and an antimissile battery to the Persian Gulf to deter what the Trump administration has described as a heightened risk of Iranian aggression.

While the reported maritime attacks amplified fears about those escalating tensions, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Norwegian company whose ships were targeted failed to immediately assign blame.

In his remarks about the maritime attacks, Mr. Bolton also said that a recent attack on the Saudi city of Yanbu, a key oil port, had failed and that Iran was behind that incident as well, although he did not elaborate.

The Trump administration has asserted that Iran is mobilizing its proxy groups in the region in response to increasingly harsh American economic sanctions, but it has not provided evidence to support those claims.

The Iran issue is not the only one in which Mr. Bolton has appeared to be out of step with the president. During Mr. Trump’s four-day visit to Japan, the president also contradicted his adviser on tensions with North Korea.

The president declared that recent North Korean missile tests did not violate United Nations resolutions, directly contradicting Mr. Bolton’s own view.


more recommended stories

  • In Conservative Michigan, Voters Want to Love Trump, Not Leave Him

    Voters in a part of the.

  • On Politics: Trump’s History With Race

    • House Republicans are also gearing.

  • Louisiana Police Officer on Facebook Says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘Needs a Round’

    A Facebook post by a Louisiana.

  • ‘The Hate Is Real’: Black Georgia Lawmaker Says She Was Berated at Supermarket

    A black member of Georgia’s House.

  • Trump Sets the Terms on Racial Division. Do Democrats Know What to Do?

    GREENVILLE, N.C. — President Trump waited.

  • ‘If You Obey, You Will Be Safe’: Audio Emerges of Iran and U.K. Exchanges Before Tanker Is Seized

    LONDON — A British warship tried.

  • In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship

    WASHINGTON — Days after he was.

  • Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims That Democrats Are Radical Socialists

    And Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans have.

  • A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington

    “This is the defining event of.

  • Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law

    WASHINGTON — More than 3,000 inmates.

  • Appeals Court Judges Send Emoluments Suit Against Trump Back to a Lower Court

    WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court.

  • Intelligence Chief Names New Election Security Oversight Official

    ASPEN, Colo. — An experienced official.

  • N.S.A. Contractor Who Hoarded Secrets at Home Is Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison

    The case of Harold T. Martin.

  • Polishing the Nationalist Brand in the Trump Era

    WASHINGTON — Ever since Donald J..

  • We Went to the Moon. Why Can’t We Solve Climate Change?

    [Read all Times reporting on the.

  • On Politics: Biden-Harris Rematch to Headline Second Debates

    Good Friday morning. Here are some.

  • How Trump’s Twitter Attack Against Democrats Evolved Into ‘Send Her Back’ Chant

    On Sunday, in what was widely.

  • Mortimer Caplin, Tactful but Tough Tax Collector, Dies at 103

    As I.R.S. commissioner in the Kennedy.

  • American to Lead NATO Intelligence as Iraq-War-Era Concerns About U.S. Linger

    NATO diplomats carefully balance the top.

  • House to Vote on Raising Federal Minimum Wage to $15

    “What we’re doing is working,” said.

  • 2020 Won’t Repeat the Mistakes of 2016, Whatever They Were

    WASHINGTON — Democrats still don’t agree.

  • On Politics: House Kills Impeachment Resolution

    • The National Republican Congressional Committee.

  • At North Carolina Rally, Trump Bets on Divisive Attacks as Way to Bolster Re-election Bid

    “Big Rally tonight in Greenville, North.

  • House Passes Intelligence Bill That Would Expand Secrecy Around Operatives

    WASHINGTON — The House passed a.

  • Trump and Epstein Partied and Commented on Women in 1992 Video

    WASHINGTON — President Trump has been.

  • 5 Ways John Paul Stevens Made a Mark on the Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON — Justice John Paul Stevens,.

  • With Name-Calling and Twitter Battles, House Republican Campaign Arm Copies Trump’s Playbook

    “I hope the lesson the N.R.C.C..

  • Top Myanmar Generals Are Barred From Entering U.S. Over Rohingya Killings

    BANGKOK — The United States has.

  • Iran Rejects Pompeo’s Suggestion It Is Willing to Negotiate Over Missile Program

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike.

  • Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

    Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs.

  • Roger Stone Is Barred From Social Media After Posts Attacking Russia Inquiry

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge on.

  • North Korea Warns U.S. to Quit Military Drills With South Korea

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea.