At Foreign Policy, Patrick Disney writes:
It’s been over two months since the toughest Iran sanctions ever approved by Congress were signed into law, three months since the UN’s latest resolution, and 15 months since Iran’s post-election demonstrations began. Despite all of this, Iran’s clerical government is not crumbling, nor has Iran shown any sign of giving in to the West on its nuclear program.
Recent weeks have seen a renewed discussion of military options for stopping Iran’s nuclear program – kicked off by Jeffrey Goldberg’s cover article in the Atlantic. But there is also a campaign underway to promote a different option on Iran: regime change, via Iranian dissidents in exile.
Members of Congress led by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) have introduced a resolution calling on the Secretary of State and the President to throw the support of the United States behind an exiled Iranian terrorist group seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime and install themselves in power. Calling the exiled organization “Iran’s main opposition,” Filner is urging the State Department to end the blacklisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group listed by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The resolution currently has 83 cosponsors and is gaining significant ground.
This follows a call for US military action against Iran, made by a prominent Republican senator.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Monday that the United States must be prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon — and added that the last-resort step should be taken with the goal of overthrowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Graham, a military lawyer and a senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, became the first senator to support direct U.S. military intervention in Iran, saying it should not involve ground troops but be launched by U.S. warplanes and ships.
“If you use military force against Iran, you’ve opened up Pandora’s box,” Graham told the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “If you allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, you’ve emptied Pandora’s box. I’d rather open up Pandora’s box than empty it.”
Graham’s unusual public support for overturning Ahmadinejad and the ruling council of Shiite Muslim clerics that he nominally heads recalled President George W. Bush’s controversial policy of regime change to invade Iraq in 2003 and overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein.