John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations and a contender to be the next secretary of state, argued Thursday that the United States should support a push for regime change in Iran, calling it the “only long-term solution” to threats the country poses in the Middle East.
“The ayatollahs are the principal threat to international peace and security in the Middle East,” Bolton told Breitbart News Daily, a radio program run by the hard-right website with close ties to Donald Trump. “Now, their ouster won’t bring sweetness and light to the region, that’s for sure, but it will eliminate the principal threat.”
Bolton, whose aggressive foreign policy impulses stand in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of the Iraq war, ripped into the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under President Barack Obama and argued that it will only help leaders in Tehran.
“I think the people of Iran would long for a new regime,” Bolton continued, later suggesting that the U.S. should support opposition groups looking to overthrow it. “I don’t think the regime is popular, but I think it has the guns. And I think there are ways of supporting the opposition that does not involve the use of American military force, that does involve helping the opposition to get a different kind of government.”
“A new government may not be filled with Jeffersonian Democrats, either,” Bolton acknowledged.
The president-elect’s transition team has reportedly been considering a range of candidates for secretary of state, from the hawkish Bolton, who served under President George W. Bush, to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Many other names have been floated for the position, including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and even Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee and harsh Trump critic.
By Madeline Conway