Speaking to reporters on Monday, National Security Adviser John Bolton slammed Russia for the announced sale of S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian government, demanding that they “reconsider” and warning that the US would view this as a “significant escalation” of the Syrian war.
Russia announced the move after a recent attack on the Syrian coast by Israel, during which a Russian Il-20 was shot down. Russia says the more advanced S-300s will be safer. Israel had insisted Syria deliberately attacked the Russian plane, while Russia says the Israeli jets were under fire from Syria and “hid” behind the larger Russian plane, getting it caught in the fire.
Bolton dismissed both of those explanations, however, saying that “really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran,” even though Iran had no involvement in the incident whatsoever.
Blaming Iran is a popular strategy for the Trump Administration, even if it didn’t make any sense. This allows the US to portray any actions done in Syria as being done on behalf of Iran.