As the White House currently considers its official policy on Iran, allies and senior officials of the President are calling for the Trump administration to move toward toppling the Iranian “militant clerical government”.
Critics of the Iranian government say the only way to halt their growing militant stance would be to dislodge the government’s leadership from power.
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.