President Obama assured the regime in 2013 that he was not seeking regime change, but many critics are saying that regime-change needs to be the policy, emphasising that the US and other nations are unsafe for as long as the dictatorship is in place.

One way to pursue regime change is to put pressure on the country’s government in terms of diplomatic and economic actions, but also via covert operations. For example, supporting dissent in the country.

Recently, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked about whether the Trump administration supported regime change. He said that the US policy towards Iran is under review, but claimed they would work with opposition groups to bring a “peaceful transition” of the Iranian government.

This angered the foreign minister of Iran, Javad Zarif, who said that the US was illegally alluding to regime change. Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations filed a formal protest indicating that the US Secretary of State made it clear that the US is planning to do something that is against “every norm and principle of international law”.

Many officials in the Trump administration have identified Iran as an enemy with the current leadership in place, even with Rouhani as the President – the reformist who was praised by Obama.

Last year, Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA, called on Congress to act regarding Iran and to address the Iranian regime’s behaviour. 

Many officials in Washington have criticised Obama’s appeasement of Iran, accusing him of ignoring very serious infractions in terms of terrorism and human rights. While negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, Obama had a chance to address many issues but he instead chose to ignore them to ensure that Iran did not back away from the deal.

The Iranian regime rules on fear, not democracy. There is no popular support for the regime, therefore by showing the people of Iran that the United States supports them will increase domestic dissent. In 2009 there was a huge uprising after allegations that the election was rigged. It was a very real threat to the Supreme Leader and his regime. The people involved in the uprising were brutally suppressed and this is how the regime continues to live on.

During President Rouhani’s first term, more than three thousand people were executed. He was involved in the negotiating of the 2015 nuclear deal and boasted that he deceived the other world leaders. Despite any claims about his reformist stance, Rouhani is not going to be able to improve the situation for the Iranian people.

The only way to guarantee freedom and democracy is to topple the regime and replace it with a peaceful one.