The unspoken key to Trump's Iran policy

I can almost hear the disapproving "shush!" coming my way.  Nobody wants to openly discuss what clearly lies ahead as President Trump's strategy for dealing with Iran: a revolution overthrowing the mullahs.

Identifying a revolution as a tool of American policy would generate nationalistic opposition and perhaps reinforce the mullahs – so the thinking goes.  Yet in his address to the world yesterday, President Trump alluded to the subject:

Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you.  It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage.  Most of Iran's 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.

But the future of Iran belongs to its people.  They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land.  And they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to God.

Iran's leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal; they refuse.  And that's fine.  I'd probably say the same thing if I was in their position.  But the fact is they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people.  When they do, I am ready, willing, and able.

Great things can happen for Iran, and great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East.

There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction.  Let it end now.

One of the most shameful acts of President Obama's term in office was his stiff arm toward the Green Revolution that sought to topple the mullahs in 2009.


Anti-regime demonstration in Tehran, 6/15/09.

Instead, he pushed the Iran deal and ignored (which encouraged) Iranian provocations, including:

... the crackdown on the protesters, the kidnapping of Americans, having their missile boats provocatively approach American destroyers, trying to assassinate him and his Saudi counterpart in downtown Washington, the failure to follow through on a red line Obama imposed on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad using chemical weapons and Iranian-backed Hezbollah smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into the US.

The mullahs are deeply unpopular with the Iranian populace, and there have been anti-government demonstrations all over Iran.  The committed Islamists who staff the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and who benefit from corruption, kept the demonstrators in check in 2009 and are the key to the regime's survival now.  Yet these loyalists are also needed to staff Iran's adventurism in Syria and Lebanon, which may offer leverage.  Tie down as many of these troops as possible outside Iran, and the ability to repress a revolution at home diminishes.

The ability of Israel's Mossad to smuggle out a huge amount of top-secret nuclear plans from a vault surely must be having an enormous impact on the perceptions of the Iranian citizenry toward the effectiveness of the mullahs' regime.  They don't look like the "strong horse" these days.

Of course, I have no sources on the ground in Iran telling me that a revolution is imminent.  But I strongly suspect that one is on the way, timing subject to events and the strategies of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, all of whom have a strong interest in seeing the mullahs meet the Twelfth Imam as soon as possible, wherever he is located in another realm.

Kim Jong-un stays in power only through repression and may well realize that the status quo for his regime has a sell-by date, thanks to the amazing economic rise of South Korea (now visible to his subjects via smuggled-in video players) and his neighbor, China, visible right across the Yalu River.  If China is counseling him to follow its own path toward economic liberalization and continued political repression, he may decide that change is preferable to a dead end for his rule.  A revolution in Iran might help him choose the course of reform.

I can almost hear the disapproving "shush!" coming my way.  Nobody wants to openly discuss what clearly lies ahead as President Trump's strategy for dealing with Iran: a revolution overthrowing the mullahs.

Identifying a revolution as a tool of American policy would generate nationalistic opposition and perhaps reinforce the mullahs – so the thinking goes.  Yet in his address to the world yesterday, President Trump alluded to the subject:

Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you.  It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage.  Most of Iran's 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.

But the future of Iran belongs to its people.  They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land.  And they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to God.

Iran's leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal; they refuse.  And that's fine.  I'd probably say the same thing if I was in their position.  But the fact is they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people.  When they do, I am ready, willing, and able.

Great things can happen for Iran, and great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East.

There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction.  Let it end now.

One of the most shameful acts of President Obama's term in office was his stiff arm toward the Green Revolution that sought to topple the mullahs in 2009.


Anti-regime demonstration in Tehran, 6/15/09.

Instead, he pushed the Iran deal and ignored (which encouraged) Iranian provocations, including:

... the crackdown on the protesters, the kidnapping of Americans, having their missile boats provocatively approach American destroyers, trying to assassinate him and his Saudi counterpart in downtown Washington, the failure to follow through on a red line Obama imposed on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad using chemical weapons and Iranian-backed Hezbollah smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into the US.

The mullahs are deeply unpopular with the Iranian populace, and there have been anti-government demonstrations all over Iran.  The committed Islamists who staff the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and who benefit from corruption, kept the demonstrators in check in 2009 and are the key to the regime's survival now.  Yet these loyalists are also needed to staff Iran's adventurism in Syria and Lebanon, which may offer leverage.  Tie down as many of these troops as possible outside Iran, and the ability to repress a revolution at home diminishes.

The ability of Israel's Mossad to smuggle out a huge amount of top-secret nuclear plans from a vault surely must be having an enormous impact on the perceptions of the Iranian citizenry toward the effectiveness of the mullahs' regime.  They don't look like the "strong horse" these days.

Of course, I have no sources on the ground in Iran telling me that a revolution is imminent.  But I strongly suspect that one is on the way, timing subject to events and the strategies of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, all of whom have a strong interest in seeing the mullahs meet the Twelfth Imam as soon as possible, wherever he is located in another realm.

Kim Jong-un stays in power only through repression and may well realize that the status quo for his regime has a sell-by date, thanks to the amazing economic rise of South Korea (now visible to his subjects via smuggled-in video players) and his neighbor, China, visible right across the Yalu River.  If China is counseling him to follow its own path toward economic liberalization and continued political repression, he may decide that change is preferable to a dead end for his rule.  A revolution in Iran might help him choose the course of reform.