The Trump administration appears to be taking steps toward a policy of regime change in Iran, according to a new Reuters report, which describes an attempt to sow unrest among the Iranian people in an attempt to put pressure on the Iranian government.
"The Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups," Reuters reported, citing anonymous U.S. officials familiar with the effort. "More than half a dozen current and former officials said the campaign, supported by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, is meant to work in concert with U.S. President Donald Trump's push to economically throttle Iran by re-imposing tough sanctions."
Both Pompeo and Bolton have demonstrated a desire to topple the Iranian government, though this latest offensive has been characterized as a pressure campaign and not a move toward regime change.
Not everyone is sold on this narrative.
The White House's deliberate "pressure" campaign was also revealed just 24 hours before Pompeo is set to deliver a speech in California on Sunday that is benignly titled "Supporting Iranian Voices."
Far from what its title would suggest, National Iranian American Council (NIAC) vice president for policy Jamal Abdi argued in a statement that Pompeo's speech is a blatantly cynical effort to "exploit" Iranian-Americans with the goal of advancing the Trump administration's aggressive regime change push.
Abdi said Pompeo is merely looking “to exploit Iranian Americans and co-opt the Iranian people” in order that the Trump administration might pursue military operations.
"Just as the Bush administration cultivated a few Iraqi exiles and talked about human rights to provide legitimacy for a disastrous invasion of Iraq, the Trump administration appears intent on using Iranian exiles to advance dangerous policies that will leave the Iranian people as its primary victims."
"It should be abundantly clear that Secretary Pompeo, who called for bombing Iran instead of negotiations, is no friend of the Iranian people," Abdi added. "As Americans, we have a vital role to play in ensuring our democratically elected government does not start wars on false pretenses or destroy lives in our names. As Iranian Americans, our voices are particularly vital when it comes to the U.S. government's efforts regarding our ancestral homeland. We will not be exploited or silenced at this critical moment in history."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioned Trump on Sunday against what he termed an attempt to “incite” chaos inside the country:
"America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," Rouhani said.