Regime change could resolve Iranian nuclear crisis
One possible and long-lasting solution to the Iran nuclear crisis is to pursue a policy of regime change with Iran, i.e. pursuing actions that would topple the existing regime and bring into power a regime that would be less likely to pursue a nuclear weapon or attack the U.S. and its allies.
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I recently attended a Middle East security conference in Berlin. At dinner one night, I sat next to the Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali-Asghar Soltanieh. I told him I had read that the Iranians were accusing the United States of supporting elements in Baluchistan. I asked him how they knew that. Without any hesitation, Soltanieh told me that they have captured militants who confessed that they were working with the Americans. The United States is also directly involved in supporting groups inside the Kurdish area of Iran. According to both western and Iranian press reports, the Iranian Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) has been allowed to operate from Iraq into Iran and has killed Revolutionary Guard soldiers. The Iranians have also accused the United States of being involved in shooting down two of their aircraft, an old C-130 and a Falcon jet, carrying Revolutionary Guard leaders.
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The third goal of U.S. policy should be to dissuade Iran from pursuing WMD. Back in October 2002, North Korea confronted the United States with an unprecedented challenge when it disclosed that it had clandestinely developed a nuclear capability. North Korea's nuclear breakout has successfully stymied American strategy in Asia since, and the lesson has not been lost on Iran's ayatollahs. The Iranian regime has been working tirelessly on its nuclear program, animated by the conviction that it needs to go nuclear like North Korea, lest it end up like Iraq. Simply put, Iran's ayatollahs have become convinced that the stability of their regime is directly correlated to the maturity of their nuclear effort.The key to chilling Tehran's enthusiasm for the bomb, therefore, hinges upon inverting that equation. Through a stronger mix of economic measures (from targeted sanctions to a gasoline embargo) and financial/logistical support for diverse opposition groups inside and outside the country, the United States can craft a policy that makes Iran's nuclear progress inversely proportional to regime stability. Such steps, if taken resolutely and explicitly linked to Tehran's nuclear intransigence, will go a long way toward convincing the Iranian regime that if it wants to stay in business, it must get out of the nuclear business.
The authors argue that a military strike against Iran's sensitive nuclear facilities won't stop their nuclear ambitions without following it through with a military campaign to overturn the current regime.
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The authors propose a strategic communications plan to undermine the existing Iranian regime and support the opposition party efforts at reform.
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