Regime Change in Iran: Yes, We Can
President Obama has other options he should be exercising to guarantee the success of the uprising. The president should call for the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which has filibuster-proof bipartisan support, to be immediately passed. This will allow the federal government to place sanctions on companies that supply Iran with gasoline or refined petroleum products, striking at the regime's most vulnerable economic pressure point, as Iran currently imports about 40% of its gasoline. If aggressively used, the government will simply be unable to operate when combined with ongoing internal discontent.
This action should be combined with meetings between high-level officials and members of the Iranian opposition and at least an attempt at passing UN resolutions that call for an end to the regime's oppression. President Obama should call on citizens to place their investments in terror-free mutual funds, giving them instructions on how they can personally contribute to solving the situation and helping the war on terror in ways his predecessor never did. NGOs and labor unions should be called upon to establish accounts to provide Iranians on strike with the financial means to continue their resistance.
He can also authorize the federal government to identify individuals in the Iranian government guilty of committing violence against the protesters, freezing the assets of people tied to the Revolutionary Guards, Basiji, or any other entity involved. This will let each of the regime's thugs know that their names will be publicized, their wallets will be immediately lightened, and they will ultimately be prosecuted when the regime falls for any crimes they commit. This will give them even more reason to defy orders to attack their fellow Iranians.
All of this will go a long way in enabling a regime change in Iran at minimal cost and with no U.S. military campaign. However, even more options of a covert nature exist. Emergency funding for Iranian opposition forces can be authorized, allowing them to hold conferences and meetings to unify bickering factions, perhaps even creating a government-in-exile representing all minorities and political constituencies, and to pay for the printing of materials like the Seven-Point Manifesto. Contact should be made with Iranians to discuss what they need and how we can provide it. Cyber warfare experts can take aim at the regime's ability to communicate and defeat their efforts to censor the Internet. The intelligence community can try to convince, or force, key members of the security services to defect. These are just some of the options available and someone with a more creative mind can surely think up better ideas. The point is that this thinking process doesn't even appear to have been initiated, or if it has, isn't as large as it needs to be.
Regime change in Iran is possible, and should we become involved, it can become a near certainty. There is not a moment to be wasted.