Pompeo hints at regime change in Iran as goal of sanctions

During a question-and-answer session after his speech outlining US policy vis-a-vis Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Pompeo said, “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership.”

By: World Israel News Staff

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stopped short of calling for regime change in Iran on Monday, but he did note that the Iranian people would ultimately decide their future sooner or later.

In a brief question-and-answer postlude with Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James, Pompeo noted, “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will decide the timeline. At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful. If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes that I set forward today.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, in contrast, told Army Radio Tuesday that the point of US demands and sanctions was not regime change. “No one would cry if a new regime were to take power in Iran,” Bennett said. “But that is not the goal. The goal is for Iran to scrap its worldwide terrorist project — Iran has become the world’s biggest trouble-maker.”

A number of critics of the Trump administration have said that Pompeo’s demands are unrealistic and that there’s almost no chance of Iran meeting their conditions.

Former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, who served under President Barack Obama, told Army Radio, “I find it difficult to understand the strategy of Trump. I am in favor of [Pompeo’s] demands and in favor of strengthening sanctions, but I do not see where it is headed.”

Pompeo, however, seemed to hint that there was hope the Iranian people would take matters into their own hands.

He scoffed at those in the West who consider President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to be moderates or reformers, saying to Iranians, “Rouhani and Zarif are your elected leaders. Are they not the most responsible for your economic struggles? Are these two not responsible for wasting Iranian lives throughout the Middle East?”