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03 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 3 - GCC rivalry and the nuclear deal, the Saudi regime on the lookout

The government’s decision to “at least maintain, if not increase, defense ties to the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] states” are also “pivotal to US efforts to counter Iran”:

The Trump Administration… has returned to earlier characterizations of Iran as an adversary whose malign activities and ballistic missile tests must be met with US responses.

The document warns that escalating indirect US pressure on Iran could lead to the pre-emptive collapse of the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): “… military action to counter Iran’s support for the Houthis, or against Iranian ships in the Gulf – could lead to a pattern of escalation that causes a collapse of the JCPOA.

The document also highlights the potential for an escalation of military activity to counter Iran led by the Gulf regimes: “Factors that could force a shift in Iran’s foreign policy could include the expansion or institutionalization of a Saudi-led coalition of Arab Sunni states that might succeed in defeating movements and governments backed by Iran.

A further Congressional document authored by Katzman titled ‘Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and US Policy’, dated February 17, 2017, provides further detail on the Trump administration’s attempts to escalate pressure on Iran.

Under the heading ‘military options’, the document notes that like Obama, President Trump has kept “potential military action against Iran” on the table, but has moved considerably closer to this option: “The Trump Administration has not stated a position on whether it would seek to change Iran’s regime, but its characterization of Iran as a US adversary could suggest that the Administration might support efforts to oust the Iranian regime should opportunities to do so present themselves.

Insight: The Trump administration’s Iran policy shift reveals an increasing willingness to support Iran regime change efforts, depending on whether the geopolitical, economic and domestic opportunities to do so materialize.

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