John Bolton Taps Iran Regime Change Advocate

by | Jan 8, 2019


John Bolton, national security advisor, is tapping Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) for a key post.

FDD President Mark Dubowitz confirmed the hire on Twitter late Monday: “Couldn’t think of anyone better than my @FDD colleague @rich_goldberg to join NSC to maximize the maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The White House has not yet publicly commented.

The story was first reported in Jewish Insider . Goldberg has locked his previously-public Twitter page, following the course taken by other NSC hires, such as Fred Fleitz (who has since departed) and Anthony Ruggiero, formerly of FDD, who swiftly locked their Twitter pages upon ascension to the White House.
Goldberg previously worked for Illinois politicians Mark Kirk and Bruce Rauner. He will join Bolton’s staff as the director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction.

Bolton has made clear in recent days that his office’s focus on Iranian proliferation remains undiminished, alleging nothing but bad faith from Tehran. “We have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons,” he said Sunday.

His new hire takes a view of Iran similar to many of Washington’s most committed Iran hawks. He views the regime in Tehran as akin to the Soviet Union—a hub of a global, anti-American counterculture and internally collapsible if Reagan-style pressure is applied, as he advocates.

“Regime change has become a loaded political term,” Goldberg has said in congressional testimony, rejecting comparisons of Iran hawks to those who pushed the US into war in Iraq, even though the two groups have heavy overlaps. “We need to look at more of a Cold War-era policy. What was the Reagan administration’s victory policy, rollback policy toward the Soviets? We definitely wanted behavioral change.”

The Trump administration has insisted US policy is for Iran to change its behavior, and that it is not formally seeking a change in the government itself. That’s contradicted, however, by administration allies such as the president’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, who told me last year that the US policy is essentially regime change.

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