White House Examining Plan to Help Iranian People Oppose Regime
White paper pushes bid to help Iranians topple already weak hardline regime
The Trump administration is examining a new plan to help Iranians fighting the hardline regime in Iran following America’s exit from the landmark nuclear deal and reimposition of harsh economic sanctions that could topple a regime already beset by protests and a crashing economy, according to a copy of the plan obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The three-page white paper being circulated among National Security Council officials in the White House offers a strategy by which the Trump administration can actively work to assist an already aggravated Iranian public topple the hardline ruling regime through a democratization strategy that focuses on driving a deeper wedge between the Iranian people and the ruling regime.
The plan, authored by the Security Studies Group, or SSG, a national security think-tank that has close ties to senior White House national security officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, seeks to reshape longstanding American foreign policy toward Iran by emphasizing an explicit policy of regime change, something the Obama administration opposed when popular protests gripped Iran in 2009.
The regime change plan seeks to fundamentally shift U.S. policy towards Iran and has found a receptive audience in the Trump administration, which has been moving in this direction since Bolton—a longtime and vocal supporter of regime change—entered the White House.
It deemphasizes U.S military intervention, instead focusing on a series of moves to embolden an Iranian population that has increasingly grown angry at the ruling regime for its heavy investments in military adventurism across the region.
“The ordinary people of Iran are suffering under economic stagnation, while the regime ships its wealth abroad to fight its expansionist wars and to pad the bank accounts of the Mullahs and the IRGC command,” SSG writes in the paper. “This has provoked noteworthy protests across the country in recent months.”
Jim Hanson, SSG’s president, told the Free Beacon that the Trump administration has no appetite for U.S. military intervention in Iran, but is very focused on efforts to rid Iran of its hardline ruling regime.
“The Trump administration has no desire to roll tanks in an effort to directly topple the Iranian regime,” Hanson said. “But they would be much happier dealing with a post-Mullah government. That is the most likely path to a nuclear weapons-free and less dangerous Iran.”
An NSC official declined to comment directly on the report, but confirmed the administration is consistently working to “change the Iranian regime’s behavior.”
“Our stated policy is to change the Iranian regime’s behavior of continuous destabilizing regional acts and support of terrorism,” the official said, adding that the White House reviews multiple plans and proposals from organizations.
“The National Security Council is in receipt of reams of policy papers and reports, some are read with interest, others are not. Receipt of a policy paper in no way means that we are going to adopt the position of that paper.”
One source close to the White House who has previewed the plan told the Free Beacon that the nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, solidified the Iranian regime’s grip on power and intentionally prevented the United States from fomenting regime change
“The JCPOA purposefully destroyed the carefully created global consensus against the Islamic Republic,” said the source, who would only speak on background about the sensitive issue. “Prior to that, everyone understood the dangers of playing footsie with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. It’s now Trump, Bolton, and [Mike] Pompeo’s job to put this consensus back in place.”
Bolton is said to be acutely aware of the danger the Iranian regime poses to the region, the source said.