In a story that might best be described as–first we were for regime change, until we weren’t–the Washington Post reported that a senior U.S. intelligence official said that the ultimate goal of U.S. sanctions against Iran is to induce enough hatred of the regime to cause it to collapse. Here’s how that passage read in the originally titled, “Goal of Iran Sanctions is Regime Collapse, U.S. official Says,” before it was quickly removed (here Blake Hounshell reports on the first version):
The goal of U.S. and other sanctions against Iran is regime collapse, a senior U.S. intelligence official said, offering the clearest indication yet that the Obama administration is at least as intent on unseating Iran’s government as it is on engaging with it.
The official, speaking this week on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the administration hopes that sanctions “create enough hate and discontent at the street level” that Iranians will turn against their government.
As soon as the administration got wind of the story, it applied pressure on the Post to erase the original official’s statement, since it contradicted the government’s stated policy, which is that sanctions are designed to force Iran to relinquish its nuclear program. But despite a prominently placed Correction notice, most of the rest of us know that the original source expressed the covert (or overt) intent of most of the Iran hawks both inside and outside government.
The two reporters who published this story are veterans. They know when an official is endorsing regime collapse and when he’s not. Despite the fact that the Post has now renounced the original version, I’m certain it was correct. Just as I’m certain that sanctions not only have no hope of toppling the regime, they have no hope of budging Iran’s nuclear policy a single inch.
In a remark that states the obvious Hounshell, who sometimes seems to be channeling the powers that be, concedes that though some may wish for regime change “as far as we can tell, they aren’t there yet.” An understatement.
Hounshell says, parentheses original: “(It’s also very much worth noting that the harshest sanctions — on Iran’s central bank — were imposed by Congress over the White House’s objections.)”
Is that the way it played out? I don’t recall Omama objecting to the sanctions. I thought he initiated them, with the proviso he could pick which countries’ banks get sanctioned for dealing w/ Iran.
Richard Silverstein says
The administration didn’t really want the oil sanctions. That was something the Congressional firebrands brewed up. But Obama signed the bill they passed. So if Obama truly objected to them he could’ve vetoed them. He didn’t. This is more Hounshell siding with the power elites in this case the administration.
Hmmm maybe Obama signed because lately
* India and Iran begin to use gold in their trade (and end using dollar)
* Iran and Russia replaced the USD with their national currencies in bilateral trade.
* China and Russia have been using their own currencies in their trade for a year
* Japan and China will promote direct trading of the yen and yuan without using dollars. (Bloomberg 12.26.2011)
* Iran and China will increase their trade and will not use USD or Euro.
* Ukraine to make ruble reserve currency
The trend is away from the US Dollar as the main reserve currency = USA becomes weaker politically and economically. USA if fighting to keep USD as the main reserve currency. Destroying Euro is a chapter in that fight. So is destroying Iran.
Matt Graber says
Fuck. We want regime change in another country because they’re not compliant? This never goes well…
We want regime change in another country because they want to kill us all.
Regime change and Iran relinquishing its nuclear program go hand in hand. There are no two ways of looking at them.Nobody expects Iran backing down from its current nuclear policy unless there is a regime/leadership change.
The new Iranian government needs to solve exactly the same important security, military and political issues than the present government has. American and Israel leaders know that perfectly well. Israel’s different governments (right and left) all have built like crazy nuclear bombs and now Israel has more nukes than China and India have.
The only solution is a nuclear free Middle East which means that the region can not be threatened and dominated with Israeli nukes. If Israel keeps its nuclear threat it is only a question of time when Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudis will create their nuclear deterrence to neutralize Israeli deterrence. Do you really believe that a 5 million Jews nation can always dominate the region with such much bigger nations, in a region packed with the most wanted raw materials? The only hope for Israel to keep its dominance is that in all these bigger powers are puppet regimes totally controlled by USA/Israel. The problem is that the people will hardly allow new Shahs.
Matt Graber says
There was an Al Jazeera documentary film called ‘Letters from Iran’ done last year which profiled the pro-democracy movement in Iran following the rigged 2009 elections. Over three million people flooded the streets of Tehran after they found that their elections had been rigged. Eventually, the crowds were met with violence, and then more violence, and then eventually Iran closed as they went after more people.
And the documentary profiled some of those involved, some working and living in exile now, some hiding within Iran.
The film was just taken down from the Al Jazeera site over the past couple of days… But I really think the anti-war camp in the United States needs to find and build with allies over there, and start discovering and revealing what alternatives there are to war.
What frightens me most is that there is only room for bellicose language on both sides, and both Iran and the US are fascist states (states enforcing their rule by force, rather than representation).
Linda J says
Here is an article suggesting that the U.S./Israeli goal of all this is to give the U.S. an excuse to take out Iran’s conventional arms (not nukes) b/c they are a threat to Israel’s nukes.
“I believe the present crisis has been manufactured to create the pretext for a US air campaign to take out Iran’s conventional missile sites. The US will also target Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the primary target will be Iran’s conventional missiles. The US will be doing Israel’s bidding. The Zionist tail will be wagging the servile US dog.”
“Obviously, you can’t generate public support for such a bombing campaign, on Israel’s behalf. Hence the cover story about nukes and the alleged Iranian threat to wipe Israel off the map, all of which is untrue but very effective propaganda nonetheless.”
But this begs the question of what the real U.S. interest is in taking on this fight on behalf of Israel. Apparently there was a Washington Post article stating the goal of the Iran sanctions is to force a regime change. The article was edited after the fact to change that suggestion.
Matthew Graber says
Check out this article in Al Jazeera last week, “Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq”.
It may not just be AIPAC and Israel exerting influence as a means of trumping up the war with Iran. Could this also be about Russia and China, and who gets Iranian oil?
Refined oil just became the United States’ number one export. The American Petroleum Institute just threatened Obama that there would be “major political consequences” if he successfully eliminated the Keystone XL pipeline project. I’m sure they have some interests in Iran as well…
Linda J says
Excuse my senility in the comment above.
Anyway, here is an article in Asia Times about the resource wars Iran is one component of:
Linda J says
Israel has assassinated another Iranian nuclear scientist: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/11/us-iran-blast-israel-idUSTRE80A1L020120111
Re regime change vs. nuclear containment – plse recall that Brazil and Turkey negotiated a deal whereby Iran would move its fuel to another country in return for enough fuel to operate energy and isotope production and that deal was dead in the water as far as the US was concerned.