Bolton may be 'hard-liner' but Trump 'not after regime change' in Iran: Petraeus

"This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz sits down with former CIA Director David Petraeus to discuss the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.
8:27 | 05/19/19

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Transcript for Bolton may be 'hard-liner' but Trump 'not after regime change' in Iran: Petraeus
We'll see what happens with a run if they do anything it'll be a very bad mistake if they do anything. And a 140000. He Natalie it. I think it's big news about how what I do that app the other thing. We have not admit that it would get that would send all of a lot like that. There is present from trying to tamp down talk of war with Iran. After a series of provocative actions this week which heightened tension across the region. And raise questions about American intelligence on Iran's intentions. Late Friday Martha Raddatz sat down with former CIA director David Petraeus a commanding general in both Afghanistan and Iraq. As she began by asking about the sabotage of gulf oil tankers itself alarms this week. One of the senior officials I spoke to said that what he thought happened there was that the Iranians are sending a message. That through proxies or whoever holds and that it was it was calculated. No injuries. No oil spill. Just to send a message that we are resisting. It's entirely possible actually try to stay below the threshold. Which would. Only if exceeded we would have to do something. And we would do something presumably. More of them they did to us if you will also that is entirely possible. But I'm not sure to what end. That's not going to prove focus I don't think to do something very significant even though there's a rhetoric saying. You know I'm not the Iranians wouldn't be happy if they do so. I think they're probably has been in this city. Far from here some kind of debate in Washington. About what should the policy objective be. Are there grounds for negotiation. And you know it at the end of the day the question that I was asking very early on. And rock when it was clear there are assumptions were completely well funded on the flight to Baghdad tell me how this sentence. I think that has been answered by the president frankly it's pretty clear that he doesn't want to go to war with the wrong. He's not after regime change he's afterwards secretary Pompeo has announced as an objective witches. Regime behavior change. And in Eaton and John Bolton. Obviously. Before he was national security advisor talked about regime change and that that was something he won it. Please think that's still being whispered in the president's here. Not after what the president said that the press the other day certainly if there was ever says again keep in mind the setting from. In which John gave that speech was a bunch of Ron him. Dissidents essentially. Not doesn't mean that he didn't doesn't desire that doesn't mean that perhaps many folks would like to see that. Of course we should have learned by now I think especially FTV air spring. That the regime change aftermath is not always what we had hoped it would be you've seen. The reports about to war planning and and certainly Yugo when both hands when you do work planning I would say that 120000. Is possible the president said. If we did anything like that we'd when we use a hell of a lot more than that if we were attacked were those prudent measure measures to plan like that. I think it's absolutely right that they should be examining a variety of different options that the actually derelict if they did not actually prepare for whatever. Could come. But the truth is let's remember that Iran is a country that has a population that is three times the size of Barack when we invaded it. And a lamb has that is three to four times the size. Overwrought as well. And I think any thoughts about invading. It Raun again rightly the president has shelved this site think that would be an enormous. Undertaking. And he's right in his assessment we wouldn't take a lot more troops than that. Were we ever do something like that now that doesn't mean we can't carry out very substantial. Been very damaging attacks from the year that we can do a lot to their maritime again we can doing tremendous amount of damage I think. Have some pretty good knowledge of that as a commander of the US Central Command who actually did. Do a lot of contingency planning and even some rehearsals at various times when we thought we might have to execute some of those contingencies. But the idea into Iraq invasion. Contingencies against Iran yes this is publicly now wreck wreck obviously we were. Had to have plans it was his skin was announced that we had plans if worse came to worsen and we had to do something with the nuclear program. So. Eight but again the idea of it DD I think it is is something that is certainly not seriously on the table. A lot of people will say that. The danger now is miscalculation on and on either side or some sort of accident or some sort of broke actor in this and that brings us to come. Well you're exactly right I think that is the concern that some incident escalates. Gets out of hand gets out of control. Of that this is where again you've got to have. Commanders on the ground to understand the rules of engagement do you think Iran will come to the negotiating team put caved in because of this maximum pressure campaign do you see any indication that well they are going to have to make a decision. Either they are going to have to really tighten their belt and keep tightening because it's going to get worse. And try to grit their teeth and get to November 221 in hopes that they are desired outcome emerges and then they survive till January 20/20 one. I'm not sure they can go that floor without having did at least pursue some back channel. That could then lead into some kind of negotiation. President trump has been quite clear about this he will would welcome communication than apparently would be willing to sit down. Himself. So. I think guests size. Well it again I. It might want to require a bit of diplomatic preparation. You know the old saying that. You know you can only pull a rabbit out of hand if the diplomats put it into that first because the because they prepared us so well. I just from collecting intelligence for a moment there are a lot of people who've been skeptical about the intelligence. Don. The tent the carriers and that evacuated the embassy the nonessential personnel. You were director of the CIA did you have absolute confident in your intelligence. We're do Americans and members of congress have a right to be skeptical. I don't know in this case obviously what they have said about their certainty. Without that knowledge it's hard to say and I think one of the but he's going Paris France with Iraq I mean that's I know I Buckeyes do not. Now in Iraq there was a news real momentum to go to war with the rock and there was intelligence however flawed it turned out to be. That was. Generally assumed to be credible by the policy makers. There was and it almost an article of faith than a rock did have. Weapons of mass destruction of some kind and means to deliver them. I just don't see this at all similar to that and beyond with the chiefs the president always are real hard liner. John Bolton is a hardliner but his chief. Client if you will for his advice the president of the United States clearly is not on this issue and I think it was very clear. But he said to the press he hopes not. How does this end. Well I hope the way the situation with the wrong hands is that. There can be some back channel communications. There can be some kind of means that address. Not just. Resumption of these nuclear agreement but an extension service that we deal with what were the legitimate concerns about it. And then come to grips with the activity that they're carrying out that is so damaging to the region. But they're in for a very very. Tough period. If they don't do that. Thanks so much time for transcripts you know pleasure to be with you again the things.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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