U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that the United States is not seeking to overthrow the regime in Iran, contradicting recent incendiary comments by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
“The United States is not looking to do a regime change in Iran. We’re not looking to do regime change anywhere,” Haley told CNN’s State of the Union. “What we are looking to do is protect Americans, protect our allies.”
Haley’s comments were consistent with the Trump administration’s official policy not to seek regime change in Iran, but recent actions, including the reimposition of sanctions (the worst of which will target Iranian oil sales and will come into effect on November 4) and the U.S. exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (despite Iran’s continued, verified compliance), seem to suggest otherwise.
Giuliani told a gathering at an Iranian opposition summit in New York on Saturday that the sanctions imposed on Iran could bring about a “successful revolution,” adding that regime change “is going to happen.”
“I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them,” he said, according to Reuters. “It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen.”
Giuliani was speaking in his own capacity at the Iran Uprising Summit, hosted by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities — an offshoot of the cult-like, former terrorist organization Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which enjoys little to no support among Iranians in Iran or among mainstream Iranian diaspora communities in the United States and abroad.
His comments came after at least 25 people were killed in a terrorist attack in the southwest city of Ahvaz during a military parade on Saturday. While countless Iranians mourned the loss of life, Guiliani told the crowd in New York that the regime is “a group of outlaws and murderers and people who pretend to be religious people and then have so much blood on their hands it’s almost unthinkable.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned Western diplomats from Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands for allegedly harboring Arab separatists responsible for the attack. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also blamed U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf region for the violence, likely referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or Bahrain.