For the first time in at least eight years that I’ve been coming to this event, I can say that we have a president of the United States who is completely and totally opposed to the regime in Tehran
Now there is underway, as there often is in a new American administration, a policy review to determine what U.S. policy will be on a whole range of issues, including how to deal with the regime in Tehran. The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday.
The Tehran regime is the central problem in the Middle East. There’s no fundamental difference between the Ayatollah Khomeini and President Rouhani. They’re two sides of the same coin.
And it’s clear that the regime’s behavior is only getting worse. Their continued violations of the agreement, their work with North Korea on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles only continues to grow.
But in the region as well, we face a very, very dangerous point. As the campaign to destroy the ISIS caliphate nears its ultimately successful conclusion, we must avoid allowing the regime in Tehran to achieve its long-sought objective of an arc of control from Iran through the Baghdad government in Iraq, to the Assad regime in Syria, and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. An arc of control, which if it’s allowed to form, will simply be the foundation for the next grave conflict in the Middle East. The regime in Tehran is not merely a nuclear-weapons threat, it’s not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region who simply seeks to live in peace and security. The regime has failed internationally, it has failed domestically in economics and politics; indeed, its time of weakening is only accelerating.
There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I have said for over 10 years since coming to these events that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that’s why before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran.
• Ambassador John R. Bolton, who represented the United States at the United Nations under President George W. Bush, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. This excerpt is taken from his remarks at the July 1 rally in Paris.
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