Clinton Denies Calling for Regime Change in Iran

Secretary of State Clinton is denying what she obviously called for on September 19: regime change in Iran. Her spokesman rejects that this is what she meant, but read her words:

And I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders, to take hold of the apparatus of the state.

That means replacing those in power -- in other words, regime change.

She even went so far as to warn the regime of a popular uprising:

When you empower a military as much as they have to rely on them to put down legitimate protests and demonstrations, you create a momentum and unleash forces that you do not know where they will end up.

Clinton was clearly offering moral support for an internally driven regime change, or at least challenges from figures within the regime to restrain Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and their ilk. She stopped a few steps short of actually endorsing the democratic opposition, as the Obama administration still sticks to the flawed but conventional view that doing so de-legitimizes them. “But we also knew that the worst thing for those protesting was for them to be seen as stooges of the United States,” she said. A spokesperson for the Green Movement has asked for more direct moral support and the regime has consistently labeled its opponents as U.S. and Israeli agents without making a dime’s worth of difference, but these facts have yet to shake away this misguided view.

Administration officials are simultaneously warning that the regime is becoming a “military dictatorship,” in what can only be a calculated decision to label it as such. Clinton’s remarks follow her other recent statement that although she has “grave disagreements” with Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic Revolution,

the early advocates of it said this would be a republic. It would be an Islamic republic, but it would be a republic. Then we saw a very flawed election and we’ve seen the elected officials turn for their military to enforce power.

Here, Clinton acted upon another calculated decision to criticize the regime as violating the principles of the original Islamic Revolution in order to promote a fissure between the regime and its more conservative opponents who haven't repudiated the original revolution or openly called for regime change.

The tone of the Obama administration on this issue is different from when it first came into office. President Obama’s first Persian New Year greeting respectfully referred to the “Islamic Republic of Iran” and was conciliatory, without any challenge being made on behalf of the people. The second one devoted four paragraphs to outlining the regime’s abuses and the commonalities between the values of the U.S. and the Iranians fighting for their freedom.