The one thing he’s right about is that Iran is different from Iraq — far more powerful and with a real, rather than imagined, nuclear programme. It is also more likely to retaliate to strikes on its nuclear facilities and, after that, to accelerate the quest for the bomb.
To prevent that, Mr Bolton says the US should work with Iran’s opposition to topple the Islamic regime. I mention that having travelled to Iran many times I’ve never met a credible opposition leader who wants to work with the US on overthrowing the regime [bold mine-DL]. “It’s not easy, it’s not like turning on a light switch,” he says. “The US should have been pursuing a regime change policy for decades.”
Khalaf is correct that there are no credible opposition leaders in Iran that want to aid the U.S. in overthrowing their government. The idea that there are any Iranians that would welcome a U.S.-backed effort to topple their government has always been fanciful at best. In Bolton’s case, it’s worse than that. When Bolton and many other hawkish former officials and politicians talk about working with “Iran’s opposition,” they are referring primarily to cooperation with the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK). This is the totalitarian cult and “former” terrorist group that they have been defending and boosting for many years, and they have gone out of their way to help the group in its effort to rehabilitate its reputation in the West. These boosters pretend that this cultish exile group is a major part of Iran’s opposition, but in reality it has no support in Iran, it is widely hated there, and real opposition leaders want nothing to do with them. It’s too bad that Bolton’s past MEK boosterism didn’t come up in this profile, because it would drive home just how fanatical and unmoored from reality Bolton’s ideas on Iran policy truly are.