In an article for The Christian Post, author Ken Blackwell recently examined the link between the current political climate in the U.S. and the possibility of regime change in Iran.
The U.S. and Iran have a troubled mutual history and currently do not currently conduct any formal relations (the U.S. instead has an “interests section” in Tehran). The clerical regime that has been in power since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 rejected its pro-western predecessor, and the narrative of resisting the encroachment of U.S. power and influence is central to the Iranian regime’s claims to legitimacy.
Repeated attempts to persuade or coerce Iran to expand civil liberties for its citizens and alter its opportunistic foreign policy have so far failed, leading to an increased interest in the possibility of regime change in Iran.
Blackwell argues that Iran’s government and foreign policy are key to peace, stability, and development in the Middle East. It is, alongside neighbor Saudi Arabia, one of the most influential regional actors, and has a hand in most of the region’s conflicts.
“Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. When a terroristic, human rights-violating regime in Iran speaks out against people inside of Iran, who, in fact, are standing up for human rights and decency…they must be doing something right,” said Blackwell in an interview with The Media Express.
According to Blackwell’s analysis, the Iranian regime’s “hysterical” response to this year’s Free Iran rally, held in Le Bourget, France on July 9th, is indicative of its weakened position vis-à-vis that of the Iranian resistance movement. The NCRI, the largest Iranian resistance group, has drawn increased international support, while Iran increasingly finds itself a regional and global pariah. This shifting power dynamic has caused Iran to increase the pitch of its condemnations of the NCRI and its main constituent body, the PMOI.
U.S. policy towards Iran remains one of the major external determining factors of this delicate power balance.
In the run-up to a major U.S. presidential election in 2016, candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump present differing visions of U.S. policy towards Iran. Trump has lambasted the “Iran Deal”, in which the U.S. played a leading role under Secretary of State John Kerry (Clinton launched and subsequently mostly supported the negotiations). For her part, Clinton has contributed to the “thaw” of U.S.-Iran relations seen under the Obama administration, but it has largely been through the imposition of severe sanctions and a firmer policy towards Tehran. Both candidates envisage a tougher U.S. policy towards Iran than that seen under President Barack Obama.
Whoever the next candidate is, a change in policy towards Iran at this pivotal moment has the potential to upset the increasingly tenuous balance of power in that country, and has a very real impact on the possibility of regime change in Iran.