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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Ex-Obama adviser: Iran’s navy “should disappear” if it blocks Strait of Hormuz

Comments came as UK Defense Secretary urged dialogue with Iran

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: Former national security adviser and Marine Corps Gen. James Jones (Ret.) speaks during a State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing on "causes and consequences of violent extremism and the role of foreign assistance." at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: Former national security adviser and Marine Corps Gen. James Jones (Ret.) speaks during a State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing on "causes and consequences of violent extremism and the role of foreign assistance." at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

The Iranian navy should be ‘wiped out’ if it takes action that threatens maritime security in the straits of Hormuz, an advisor to former US president Barack Obama told The National on Tuesday.

Gen. James Jones, who now serves as the interim chairman of the Atlantic Council, said: “I personally would like to see, if they ever did something in the Strait of Hormuz, I would like to see their navy disappear.”

The four-star general who served as national security adviser for the former president between 2009 and 2010 described the Iranian government as “an existential threat to the region.

“I don’t think they changed their export policy of terror, and I don’t have much hope that this regime will.”

Asked about the reintroduction of US financial sanctions by administration of President Donald Trump on Monday, Gen. Jones told reporters: “it is difficult for me to understand why any Western country or any country would want to have a trade relationship with a regime like that.”

The new sanctions follow the US withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

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He added that “sanctions are effective, I participated in the drafting of the first sanctions, but it could work… I would like to see more countries adopt this policy and eventually I would like to see Iran be governed by the people who deserve to live under a different type of leadership.”

He described Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as “not stupid” but calculated in explaining why they haven’t taken any action against the US.

“The IRGC believes the US would respond in overwhelming force” he argued. Gen. Jones said countries in the region have to take measures to protect themselves.

His comments followed remarks by the British Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday. Mr Williamson called Iran “terror-sponsoring state”, but urged dialogue between Tehran and Washington to resolve the nuclear deal stand-off.

“We encourage the US to get around the table”, he said. "None of us pretended that it was a perfect deal, but it did deliver a number of important measures that we can benefit from.”

On Monday, the White House reiterated US’s willingness to meet Iranian leaders, but that offer was rejected by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

US officials said the Trump administration is leading a pressure campaign against Iran, aimed at bringing Tehran to the table to negotiate a larger deal that would tackle its regional behaviour as well as nuclear ambitions.

The EU has not followed suit with re-imposing sanctions and updated legislation to shield European firms that do legitimate business with Tehran in a bid to safeguard the 2015 JCPOA.