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White House national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House national security adviser John Bolton blamed Iran Wednesday for attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates this month and accused Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons, AP reports.

Details: Bolton told reporters in Abu Dhabi there’s "no reason" for Iran to back out of the nuclear deal and seek higher enrichment unless it is "to reduce the breakout time to produce nuclear weapons," per AP.

The big picture: Bolton also said — without offering evidence — it was "clear" the tanker attacks "were naval mines almost certainly from Iran," according to Reuters. Iran has denied involvement in the attacks, which were claimed by the Houthis in Yemen.

Why it matters: U.S. officials have previously made repeated but unspecific claims of possible impending Iranian attacks. Both U.S. and Iranian officials have said they don't want war. President Trump said Monday he supported Japanese efforts to potentially open a dialogue between the U.S. and Iran.

The other side: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Monday that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "long ago said we're not seeking nuclear weapons — by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them."

  • Zarif attacked Trump's administration — which he called the "B team." He said imposing sanctions on Iran were "hurting the Iranian people & causing tension in the region. Actions — not words — will show whether or not that's [Trump's] intent."

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”