Bolton, along with other former and current officials and policymakers, has been clear in his opinion that the US is failing to confront this threat. In his speech on June 27, his declared unequivocally that the current policies with respect to Iran, and especially its nuclear program, are “very nearly the opposite of what we should be doing.”
“Instead of working with the regime in Tehran,” Bolton declared, “now is the time to overthrow the regime in Tehran.” Renowned for his forthright policy positions and sometimes combative speaking style, Bolton was evidently very much at home amidst the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its primary constituent organization, the MEK. Earlier in the evening, the group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, made it clear not only that its platform was regime change, but also that there is good reason to believe that that regime change can be imminent, if only Western powers avoid getting in the way of the Iranian people’s efforts.
John Bolton’s remarks seemingly supported this perception, in that they rejected the notion that the Iranian regime has enough domestic support to keep pursuing its dangerous policies or to remain in power if not propped up by the perceived success of such policies. “It is a myth that the Iranian people support the ayatollahs’ nuclear program,” Bolton declared.
Not only did Bolton acknowledge the possibility of regime change in Iran, he insisted that “the declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime as soon as possible.
The former US ambassador to the UN pointed to the work that these groups have already done to help advance US and global policy interests. “For the last 10 or 15 years,” he said, “it has been the MEK, more than any other group, that has brought attention to key aspects of the regime’s nuclear program, to make it clear just what a threat it is.”
Joining Bolton on stage were two former State Department officials, Robert Joseph and Phillip J. Crowley, as well as another former ambassador, Marc Ginsburg, all of whom supported Bolton’s central message. “The only issue is how do we change the regime?” Joseph stated, going on to say that part of the strategy for that regime change must be to protect the Iranian resistance and understand the role that the MEK can play in bringing about change within Iran.
Crowley emphasized that there is a great deal of work ahead for opponents of the Iranian regime, but that there is also tremendous hope for the success of their cause. “The process of change takes time and is difficult,” he said. “But change is inevitable.”