Mike Pompeo is pleased that sanctions have made things worse for the Iranian people:
.@roxanasaberi: “Have you seen any sign that this pressure is pushing Iran to negotiate with the U.S.?”
Sec. Mike Pompeo: “Things are much worse for the Iranian people, and we’re convinced that will lead the Iranian people to rise up and change the behavior of the regime.” pic.twitter.com/VVc3MNsHWs
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 14, 2019
Pompeo dodges the question he is asked, because the obvious answer to Saberi’s question is no. The administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign has failed to change regime behavior, and it isn’t going to force Iran to negotiate anything with the U.S. The Secretary of State makes it clear that the administration’s goal is to make conditions inside Iran so bad that there is an uprising, but the administration is going to fail here, too.
There are at least two fatal flaws in the administration’s policy. First, the Iranian people don’t want the chaos and upheaval that would come with such an uprising. That is a consistent message coming from people inside Iran in one report after another. Second, Iranians aren’t going to assist the U.S. in overthrowing their own government. The more that the administration emphasizes that regime change is their true goal, the more resentment and opposition that is going to inspire among the people suffering under sanctions.
As always, Iran hawks fail to take into account the agency and aspirations of the population they claim to support, and they definitely fail to take their nationalism into account. They imagine that they can strangle and choke an entire nation, and then that nation will spontaneously fall in line with the hawks’ preferences. It is on the basis of this risible assumption that they support spreading more misery across an entire country.
Iranians certainly aren’t going to want to help the U.S. after our government has been strangling their economy and impoverishing them. Inflicting collective punishment on the entire population would be the wrong thing to do in any case, and it also isn’t going to get the administration what it wants. They are exacerbating the suffering of tens of millions of people for nothing.