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02 February, 2018

Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest for ‘regime change’, documents reveal

At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. What role did the United States play?

Part 2 - The looming water crisis and mismanagement of resources

Iran’s unrest has mostly been driven by a convergence of domestic ecological, energy and economic crises. The State Department has sought to exploit these crises to undermine the legitimacy of the regime, by funding opposition groups as well as anti-regime broadcasting to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year.

One State Department funding document, for instance, refers to a project to use Iran’s growing water crisis to drum up public anger against regime “mismanagement”.

To date, US government records show that the Trump administration has spent over $1m, at least, since 2016, on financing anti-regime activism within Iran.

The policy is not new, though. Altogether, since 2006, successive US administrations have invested tens of millions of dollars a year on ‘democracy promotion’ efforts in Iran.

Much of the media programming funded by the State Department has focused on glorifying the reign of the Shah of Iran, the brutal US-UK backed dictator who was deposed by the 1979 revolution. The propaganda appears to have worked, with many participants in the latest protests calling for the Shah’s exiled son, Reza Pahlavi, to return to power in Iran.

Axiom: New US government documents reveal that the Trump administration is intensifying efforts to undermine the Iranian regime, through a combination of diplomatic pressure, military encroachment, and continuing financing of domestic opposition groups.

Two Congressional documents published early last year, and one released just a month before the protests, throw light on the Trump administration’s policy of escalation in Iran. The documents are research reports published by the Congressional Research Service written by Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst specialising in Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states.

One document, ‘Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies’ dated February 6, 2017, describes how the administration’s announcement placing Iran “officially on notice” could signal that “the new Administration might change US rules of engagement to include the use of deadly force in future incidents.

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