Prospects Dim for Regime Change in Iran
DANIEL SCHORR reporting:
A complaint by the International Atomic Energy Agency over Iran's resumption of uranium enrichment, a call by the United States and European governments for punitive United Nations sanctions, a defiant thumbing of the nose by the rabid Islamic government of Iran, and then what?
LIANE HANSEN, host:
NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: British Prime Minister Tony Blair says menacingly but vaguely, `We have to decide what measures to take and we obviously don't rule out any measures at all.' That was the way the Bush administration used to talk in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. One begins to hear again that favorite phrase of the Bush administration `regime change.' Millions of dollars were poured into promoting a revolt from within Iraq. Exile groups dreamt of sweeping out the Saddam Hussein regime. In the end, regime change in Iraq was achieved by a military action from without.
A better case could be made today for danger of weapons of mass destruction from Iran than ever was made for Iraq. But as far as publicly known, plans for regime change in Iran are in a very early stage. Senator Sam Brownback inserted a provision into the 2005 budget bill giving the State Department $3 million to aid efforts by Iranians to change their government. The administration obviously has to tread very carefully on hostile action which could provoke retaliation against Israel and in Iraq. The New York Times has reported that the Pentagon held clandestine meetings with Iranian dissidents as far back as 2001, but the administration has played down the importance of these encounters.
Intelligence reports indicate a growing resentment among Iranians because of mounting unemployment and the stringent Islamic rules, but there is apparently also nationalistic support for the regime in the face of threatened actions by Western governments and so the prospects for regime change are not very bright.
This is Daniel Schorr.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.