A senior Iranian official says the United States has been put to shame by the fact that its national security advisor is on the payroll of a terrorist cult, alluding to the money paid by anti-Iran Mojahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) to John Bolton for delivering speeches at the terrorist group’s gatherings.
"For a so-called superpower country, it is shameful that its national security official is receiving a salary from a terrorist cult with a history of killing 17,000 innocent Iranian nationals," Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said.
US President Donald Trump announced on March 22 that he is replacing his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, with John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations and a military intervention hawk.
Trump announced the replacement, making Bolton his third national security adviser since coming to office and continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history.
In November 2016, US-based magazine Politico reported that the former US envoy was on the MKO's payroll and lobbied to erase the group from the State Department’s list of terrorist groups during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as the top US diplomat.
The report also underlined that in addition to “longtime regime-change advocates” in the US such as Bolton, “who recently boasted before a MKO crowd in Paris that he had been engaged with them for a decade,” the terror group signed up Republican and Democratic politicians en masse.
The US State Department added the MKO to its list of foreign terrorist organizations in 1997 for the group’s involvement in the killing of Americans in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on US soil in 1992.
Shamkhani further said various US governments have always pursued a stance based on undermining and harming the Islamic Republic.
He added that the current US president's "cult of personality" has led to a discrepancy between his anti-Iran measures and decisions and the complex attitude of his predecessors.
The SNSC secretary said the US government is investing millions of dollars in anti-Iran strategies, such as acts of launching acts of military intervention, imposing economic sanctions, weakening the country's defense might and creating political and security crises.
"However, these measures have not only failed to help them achieve their goals but laid the groundwork for improving Iran's strength and spiritual influence," Shamkhani pointed out.
His remarks came after a senior Iranian lawmaker said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic should strengthen relations with Russia and China to counter tougher US policies expected after President Trump's appointment of Bolton as national security adviser.
"The use of hardline elements against the Islamic Republic of Iran shows that the Americans seek to exert more pressure on Iran," Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi said.
Bolton is also strongly opposed to the landmark nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015. He also advocates a regime change in Iran.
A February op-ed for The Wall Street Journal said Bolton "has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic."