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01 April, 2018

Regime Change, Partition, and “Sunnistan”: John Bolton’s Vision for a New Middle East

Bolton is likely to push for the creation of a new sectarian state out of Syrian and Iraqi territory, now that the groundwork has been laid and the path largely cleared to building a “new Middle East.” Iran is currently the only country in the region with the potential to foil that plan.

by Whitney Webb

Part 5 - Bolton’s Iran plan

Though some may dismiss Parsi’s response as exaggerated or bombastic, Bolton’s actions and rhetoric over the years have made it clear that he is adamant in his desire to topple the current government of Iran by any means necessary.

Indeed, Bolton’s past indicates a near obsession with clearing the way for U.S. military action against Iran. As journalist Gareth Porter recently noted, from 2002 to 2004, while he was the Bush administration’s key policymaker on Iran, Bolton — by flouting State Department protocol and taking several unannounced trips to Israel — “actively conspired […] to establish the political conditions necessary for the administration to carry out military action.

Bolton’s behind-the-scenes dealings led Iran’s nuclear program to become a matter overseen by the United Nations Security Council, as opposed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He engineered that handoff because the then-director general of the IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei, posed an obstacle to framing Iran as a nuclear weapons threat. Bolton eventually used fabricated evidence, provided to him by an Iranian terrorist group that Bolton still openly supports, to convince the United Nations that Iran was secretly developing a nuclear weapon.

That terror group, Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), was listed a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the United States government from 1997 and 2012 and, in the past, has conducted terror acts to accomplish its goals, killing Iranians as well as Americans in the process. More recently, MEK has worked with Israeli Intelligence to murder Iranian scientists. Since its removal from the government’s terror group list, MEK has sought to reinvent itself as a “moderate” Iranian opposition group even though it has next to no support within Iran and has consistently been characterized as both “cultish” and “authoritarian.”

In its bid to become the likely successors to the current Iranian government were Western-backed regime change to take place, MEK has garnered a slew of admirers across both parties of the U.S. political establishment due to its generous speaking fees. That is especially true in the Trump administration, as several key figures in his cabinet and advisers to the President have been linked to the group. For instance, Elaine Chao, Trump’s Transportation Secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech.

Bolton is just one more of the group’s many high-profile “admirers” in the U.S. At a MEK gathering in France last year, Bolton told supporters and members of the group: “The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. […] The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself. […] And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!

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