USA 'not seeking regime change in Iran', says John Bolton

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US President Donald Trump's national security adviser said on Wednesday that the United States is not seeking to oust Iran's leadership but wants "massive change" in its behaviour.

Bolton said his discussions with Patrushev covered "the whole range of issues that the two countries have on nonproliferation, on arms control, on a range of bilateral issues, counterterrorism, illegal immigration, cyber-related issues, regional issues, like Syria, the broader Middle East, Afghanistan, and Ukraine".

Bolton said he believed Trump's decision in May to withdraw from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, followed by the reimposition of sanctions, was having a stronger effect than expected on pressuring Tehran. "And we talked about a variety of ways in which it might be accomplished through a series of steps".

"I and my Russian counterpart have made progress on the topics we discussed".

Patrushev, who also said a broad agreement on restarting contacts between the two countries' army chiefs-of-staff had been reached, said he had invited Bolton and US officials to Russian Federation for future talks, but said no date had been agreed for a follow-up meeting, RIA reported.

The National Security Adviser said he warned Nikolai Patrushev against any effort at interfering in the 2018 mid-terms and that America is 'prepared to take necessary steps to prevent it from happening'.

The two men are due to meet in Geneva for talks on Thursday in the first high-level meeting since the Russian and USA presidents held talks in Helsinki in July.

"Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias reportedly played a key role in re-capturing the region along the border despite Russian assurances they would be kept away from the Israeli border and denials by the Assad regime the Iranian trained and funded forces were taking part in the battle", we reported at the time.

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"We are going to do other things to put pressure on Iran as well, beyond economic sanctions".

"We don't think our president really at heart endorses all these positions. yet the people he has hired do", Paul said, bringing up his appointment of Bolton, a neoconservative hawk from the George W. Bush administration.

To be fair, Iranians had already been rallying against their own government before the US withdrawal for problems related to the economy and ongoing drought.

Both said they had failed at an attempt to write a joint public statement about their talks.

Bolton insisted that recent USA political turmoil over guilty pleas and verdicts against by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen - "doesn't have any effect" on his job.

Bolton said he did not specifically raise the Microsoft case and gave no details about any specific talks on the Facebook or Twitter revelations.

Mr Bolton, who has previously called for for regime change in Iran, said that the fall of the government was not USA policy.