From CounterPunch in 2006:
“Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.”
Senior Bush Official, May 2003
The United States and Israel have been itching to go to Tehran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. That Revolution was a strategic setback for both powers. It overthrew the Iranian monarchy, a great friend of the US and Israel, and brought to power the Shi’ite Mullahs, who saw themselves as the legitimate heirs of the Prophet’s legacy, and, therefore, the true defenders of Islam.
From Robert Mackey at The Intercept:
Trita Parsi, leader of the National Iranian American Council wrote on Twitter: “The appointment of Bolton is essentially a declaration of war with Iran. With Pompeo and Bolton, Trump is assembling a WAR CABINET…
Bolton has spent the better part of a decade calling for the United States to help overthrow the theocratic government in Tehran and hand power to a cult-like group of Iranian exiles with no real support inside the country…
Just eight months ago, at a Paris gathering, Bolton told members of the Iranian exile group, known as the Mujahedeen Khalq, MEK, or People’s Mujahedeen, that the Trump administration should embrace their goal of immediate regime change in Iran and recognize their group as a “viable” alternative.
“The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday,” Bolton said. (The 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution will be on February 11, 2019.) “The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran,” Bolton added. “The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself.”
As the Iranian expatriate journalist Bahman Kalbasi noted, Bolton concluded his address to the exiles with a rousing promise: “And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”..
After members of the MEK helped foment the 1979 revolution, in part by killing American civilians working in Tehran, the group then lost a bitter struggle for power to the Islamists led by the revolution’s leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. With its leadership forced to flee Iran in 1981, the MEK’s members set up a government-in-exile in France and established a military base in Iraq, where they were given arms and training by Saddam Hussein, as part of a strategy to destabilize the government in Tehran that he was at war with.
In recent years, as The Intercept has reported, the MEK has poured millions of dollars into reinventing itself as a moderate political group ready to take power in Iran if Western-backed regime change ever takes place. To that end, it lobbied successfully to be removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2012. The Iranian exiles achieved this over the apparent opposition of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in part by paying a long list of former U.S. officialshefty speaking fees of between $10,000 to $50,000 for hymns of praise like the one Bolton delivered last July.
But, according to Ariane Tabatabai, a Georgetown University scholar, the “cult-like dissident group” — whose married members were reportedly forced to divorce and take a vow of lifelong celibacy — “has no viable chance of seizing power in Iran.”
Such is the power of the neocons that they careen from calamity to disaster, propelled by nothing more than force of will.
Iran is the rock upon which Trump will allow the neocons to fetch up.
From Shane Harris at the WSJ in June:
The Central Intelligence Agency has established an organization focused exclusively on gathering and analyzing intelligence about Iran, reflecting the Trump administration’s decision to make that country a higher priority target for American spies, according to U.S. officials.
The Iran Mission Center will bring together analysts, operations personnel and specialists from across the CIA to bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action. In that respect it is similar to a new Korea Mission Center that the CIA announced last month to address North Korea’s efforts to develop long-range nuclear missiles…
To lead the new group, Mr. Pompeo picked a veteran intelligence officer, Michael D’Andrea, who recently oversaw the agency’s program of lethal drone strikes and has been credited by many of his peers for successes against al Qaeda in the U.S.’s long campaign against the terrorist group.
The New York Times earlier reported Mr. D’Andrea’s appointment.
Mr. D’Andrea, a former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, is known among peers as a demanding but effective manager, and a convert to Islam who works long hours. Some U.S. officials have expressed concern over what they perceive as his aggressive stance toward Iran.