Trump allies push White House to consider regime change in Tehran

As the new administration conducts a routine review of its Iran policy, senior officials are hinting that they’re open to toppling the country’s clerical regime.

By Michael Crowley

As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key allies of President Donald Trump are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government.

Supporters of dislodging Iran’s iron-fisted clerical leadership say it’s the only way to halt Tehran’s dangerous behavior, from its pursuit of nuclear weapons to its sponsorship of terrorism. Critics say that political meddling in Iran, where memories of a 1953 CIA-backed coup remain vivid, risks a popular backlash that would only empower hard-liners.

That’s why President Barack Obama assured Iranians, in a 2013 speech at the United Nations, that “we are not seeking regime change.”

But influential Iran hawks want to change that under Trump.

“The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who speaks regularly with White House officials about foreign policy. “I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism,” he added.

Cotton advocated a combination of economic, diplomatic and covert actions to pressure Tehran’s government and “support internal domestic dissent” in the country. He noted that Iran has numerous minority ethnic groups, including Arabs, Turkmen and Balochs who “aren’t enthusiastic about living in a Persian Shiite despotism.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to endorse subverting the Iranian regime during recent testimony about the State Department’s budget when Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) asked the diplomat whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change” in Iran…

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This article (Trump allies push White House to consider regime change in Tehran) was originally published on Politico and syndicated by The Event Chronicle

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