Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Trump administration wants regime change in Iran. But regime change usually doesn’t work.

| July 31, 2017

resident Trump is no fan of Iran. As a candidate, he had promised to tear up the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Having been frustrated in his attempts to do that — at least for now — the administration and its backers have been rumbling about changing the regime.

In June, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), declared, “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran. I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said more than once that the three most dangerous threats facing the United States are “Iran, Iran, Iran.” Other administration voices on record as favoring regime change include Secretary of State Rex TillersonCIA Director Mike Pompeo and Derek Harvey, former National Security Council director for Middle East affairs.

All this has mostly been rhetorical, and has done little to address whom Washington would promote to replace the mullahs. But would a more serious overt or covert effort in Iran bring benefits — such as a friendly Iranian regime — to the United States?

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For Academic Citation: Downes, Alexander and Lindsey A. O'Rourke.“The Trump administration wants regime change in Iran. But regime change usually doesn’t work..” The Washington Post, July 31, 2017.

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