Iranians do want regime change — but not the kind Washington hawks are pushing

By | May 17, 2019

Vali Nasr writes:

Talk of “regime change” is once again in the air, and this time Iran is in the gun sights.

President Trump — who withdrew from the nuclear deal Iran had signed with the United States, Europe, Russia and China — still insists that his goal is diplomacy. Only “maximum pressure” will bring Iran back to the negotiating table, the White House says: That’s the rationale for punishing economic sanctions that are aimed at reducing Iran’s exports to zero.

Even as the United States showily dispatched an aircraft carrier and bombers to the Middle East last week, the president asked Iran’s leaders to call him, with the White House going so far as to send Tehran a telephone number through the Swiss Foreign Ministry. Tehran said not to expect a call.

Trump’s talk of negotiations rings hollow. Washington’s strategy, it has been clear for some time, is to oust the current Iranian leadership through economic pressure and, if necessary, a nudge from the military. No wonder national security adviser John Bolton and other hawkish officials had asked the Pentagon for a plan that includes sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran (or a “proxy”) make an aggressive military move. The White House is discussing an even broader range of military responses to Iranian provocations, according to recent reports. [Continue reading…]

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