Tillerson said the administration would support “a philosophy of regime change” for Iran. In his appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee two weeks ago, Tillerson also said it was administration’s policy to “work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.” He added, “Those elements are there certainly, as we know.”
Iran accused Tillerson of violating international law and the United Nations Charter, in what it called “a brazen interventionist plan” to change the government.
However, many others agree with Tillerson.
Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton said in a June 25 report by Politico, “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.” Cotton is also a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
In a memo that The Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank sent the White House earlier this year, they also argued for regime change. They said, “Iran is susceptible to a strategy of coerced democratization because it lacks popular support and relies on fear to sustain its power. The very structure of the regime invites instability, crisis and possibly collapse.”
Reform of the Islamic Republic’s government may no longer be sufficient, according to some officials in President Donald Trump’s administration.
The United Nations ambassador for Iran called the comments “a brazen interventionist plan that runs counter to every norm and principle of international law.”
However, Michael Anton, National Security Council spokesman said, “An explicit affirmation of regime change in Iran as a policy is not really on the table,” according to the Politico report.
Many Trump administration officials have previously backed regime change, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In fact, last year, Pompeo, then a Republican House member, told Fox News that “Congress must act to change Iranian behavior, and, ultimately, the Iranian regime.”
Military intervention would not be necessary for regime change in Iran is an idea argued by Pompeo and others, who believe that the regime can be effectively weakened by economic sanctions and support of Iranian dissidents within the country.