John Bolton may have backed off wanting to bomb Iran, saying he’s not the one to decide, but he’s hardly given up trying to convince Trump to replace the regime in Tehran, as Gareth Porter explains.
By Gareth Porter
Now that the Trump administration has derailed the Iran nuclear deal, the old issue of regime change in Iran is back again. National Security Advisor John Bolton is obviously the chief regime-change advocate in the administration, and there is every reason to believe he has begun to push that policy with Donald Trump in his first month in the White House.
Bolton was part of the powerful neoconservative faction of national security officials in the George W. Bush administration that had a plan for supporting regime change in Iran, not much different from the one Bolton is reportedly pushing now. But it was a crackbrained scheme that involved the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) exiled terrorist organisation that never had Bush’s support.
Bolton may find history repeating itself, with Trump resisting his plan for regime change, just as Bush did in 2003.
Trump Calls for Change
Trump has appeared to flirt with the idea of Iranian regime change in the past. During the December protests in Iran, he said on Twitter that it was time for a change, noting: “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years.”
Trump’s killing of the nuclear deal, however, stopped short of rhetoric signalling the aim of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Instead, Trump suggested that “Iran’s leaders” are “going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people”. He added: “When they do, I am ready, willing and able.”
A few days after the Trump announcement, an unnamed National Security Council (NSC) official avoided any hint of regime change, telling the neoconservative Washington Free Beacon: “Our stated policy is to change the Iranian regime’s behaviour.”
Now, Bolton has issued an even more explicit denial, telling ABC
News: “That is not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure Iran never gets close…