Regime Change Not Going to Work in Iran

Regime Change Not Going to Work in Iran
Regime Change Not Going to Work in Iran

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US policy of regime change toward Iran is doomed, as its government relies on its own people, calling on the US officials to “look at realties” and learn from previous mistakes of interfering in the country.

The top diplomat made the statement in a panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday, the council’s website reported.

Pointing to renewed calls by US President Donald Trump administration’s officials for regime change in Iran, Zarif said, “The US doesn’t learn from history. The US conducted regime change in Iran in 1953, and look what it has produced for the United States.”

Zarif was referring to a US-led putsch against a democratically-elected government that restored a despotic monarch to the throne. The US-backed monarch was ousted 26 years later by the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Trump has vowed to take a harder line on Iran, claiming his predecessor Barack Obama was too soft on Tehran.

Two of his top officials, secretary of defense, James Mattis, and secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, have openly talked about the need for changing the Iranian government.

“The US has been following a regime change policy since the revolution. It was officially stopped during the Obama administration, but we don’t believe it was actually stopped. We have been under pressure for 38 years,” Zarif said.

He said the Iranian government has managed to survive hostile plans for years, despite the fact that it does not have the foreign security support that some other regional countries enjoy.

“The difference between Iran and America’s allies in the region is that we derive our legitimacy and our authority and our power from our people,” he said.

“It’s because we rely on our own people that we’ve been able to survive regime change ..., [the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq] war in which everybody supported the other side ... and crippling sanctions [imposed over Iran’s nuclear work.”

Zarif said Iran has proven its capability to live “in spite of the US [pressure campaign]”, so further regime change attempts will be futile.

“Don’t kid yourself. Look at the realities. Regime change doesn’t work in Iran, because it is not a country that is dependent on the United States for its legitimacy and survival,” he said.

  Contradictory Signals

Pointing to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Zarif said Iran has received “contradictory signals” from the Trump administration that it does not know how to interpret.

Zarif said he has had no contact with his American counterpart regarding the deal, but “it doesn’t mean that there can’t be [communication], because the possibilities for engagement with regard to the nuclear deal has always been open.”

The foreign minister reiterated Iran’s grievance that the US is not willing to let Iran reap the benefits it is entitled to under the nuclear deal.

Zarif said for the US “it’s more important to maintain the sanctions that remain” on Iran “rather than remove the sanctions that have been lifted.”

“[This] creates the impression in Iran that the United States’ hostility toward Iran will never end,” he said, adding that a change in US behavior is required so that perception changes.

Zarif said the six parties to the agreement will be meeting in Vienna on Friday to examine Iran’s complaints about the US failure to carry out its obligations.

In an interview with the National Interests magazine on Monday, Zarif raised the prospect that Iran may pull out of the deal, warning about major nuclear deal violations on behalf of the US.

“If it comes to a major violation, or what in the terms of the nuclear deal is called significant nonperformance, then Iran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal,” he said.

Zarif was in New York to speak at a high-level UN meeting assessing progress toward meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


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