White House looking at new plan to help dissidents oppose Iran regime

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting on a  new plan being examined by the White House that would aide Iranian dissidents in their effort to overthrow the regime.

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's hard to overstate the importance of this shift. Recall the Reagan administration's similar change in policy toward the Soviet Union. The cold war strategy of "containing" the Soviets was jettisoned in favor of an approach that would actually defeat Moscow. 

And the rest is history.

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."

There is little doubt that the nuclear deal strengthened the regime by offering hope to its citizens of better economic times due to the release of tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets and a lifting of most sanctions. It also prevented the US from taking steps to destabilize the regime. 

But the promise of better times has been a false one for the Iranian people. In fact, the economy is as bad as ever and the young, especially, are well and truly disillusioned with their leaders.

Now that the shackles are off, the administration will seek to undermine and, hopefully, destroy the mullah's grip on power. No one should think this is going to be easy or be done quickly.  But it's going to happen. And now that there is a US administration willing to take the steps necessary, to see the job done, the days of the religious fanatics who currently rule in Iran are numbered. 

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