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Bolton Says Putin Agrees Iran Should Leave Syria; Portends Joint U.S.—Russia Action

A day before U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton meets his Russian counterpart in Geneva, he told journalists in Jerusalem that Russian President Putin professes to be on the same page regarding favoring the removal of Iran from post-civil war Syria but that he “can’t do it alone.” Bolton said Putin had told President Trump during their July summit that Russia’s interests and Iran’s “are not exactly the same,” triggering speculation that the Iran-out-of-Syria issue could be a rare matter of American-Russian cooperation. Bolton defended Israel’s strikes at targets inside of Syria, citing the right of the Jewish state to defend itself. The ambassador denied the U.S. policy regarding Iran is regime change, saying it’s actually “changing the regime’s behavior.” Bolton had praise for the work of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman who, by many counts, is deeply involved with efforts to create the much-anticipated administration peace plan. Bolton said no timetable has been set for its launch.

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