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Because real men go to Tehran

Because real men go to Tehran

by digby



He did it. Of course he did it.


John Bolton on Iran:

Rob Malley, who coordinated Middle East policy in the Obama administration, observed that Bolton’s appointment, along with the nomination of Iran deal critic Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, seemed to signal that the agreement would most likely be “dead and buried” within months. Trita Parsi, leader of the National Iranian American Council wrote on Twitter: “People, let this be very clear: The appointment of Bolton is essentially a declaration of war with Iran. With Pompeo and Bolton, Trump is assembling a WAR CABINET.”

Their alarm was understandable. Bolton, who made his name as a belligerent member of George W. Bush’s State Department and a Fox News contributor, has not only demanded that the Trump administration withdraw from the nuclear deal, he also previously advocated bombing Iran instead. 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!”



To understand how extraordinary it is that the man about to become the president’s most senior national security official made this promise to the MEK, it is important to know that, until recently, the Iranian dissidents had spent three decades trying to achieve their aims through violence, including terrorist attacks.

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. officials hefty speaking fees of between $10,000 to $50,000 for hymns of praise like the one Bolton delivered last July.

Your president, ladies and gentlemen: