Post Columnist and Trump Administration Team Up on Iran Regime Change

Josh Rogin (Hudson Institute via Flickr)Josh Rogin (Hudson Institute via Flickr)

by Ben Armbruster

It’s starting to look like the Iran regime-change industry is getting a little worried that its efforts to kill the nuclear deal and squeeze Iran’s leaders out of existence isn’t quite working as planned. For instance, Donald Trump’s scheme to pressure Iran by re-imposing oil sanctions will likely produce political blowback at home in the form of higher gas prices.

But the latest example of concern comes in the form of a juicy scoop last week by Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. Administration officials leaked to Rogin that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is quietly preventing Trump from signing the paperwork necessary to impose sanctions meant to prevent Iran from accessing an international banking transaction system. The move would severely restrict Iran’s ability to do business abroad and add another nail to the coffin of the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA).

For years, Rogin has been a sympathetic ear and scribe to Iran deal opponents and their fellow travelers on other foreign policy issues, particularly during his days writing with Eli Lake, a writer who launched his career cheerleading for the Iraq war. Writing together at the Daily Beast and then Bloomberg, Lake and Rogin regularly published joint columns attacking President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, and their aftermath, with baseless charges meant to undermine the JCPOA.

In his recent piece, Rogin not only aired the anonymous officials’ concerns about Trump’s Iran policy falling apart. He also cited what he called two “great arguments” for forcing Iran out of the bank transaction system, known as SWIFT, from two officials at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the hawkish think tank that promotes regime change and war against Iran. Rogin presented no opposing view.

One of those officials was, of course, FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz, whom reporters have a habit of quoting without telling their readers about his support for regime change in Iran. Rogin didn’t mention Dubowitz’s pedigree either, nor did he offer his readers a quote from an expert saying that, in fact, kicking Iran out of SWIFT is a bad idea. The move would make saving the nuclear deal more difficult, if not impossible, and thereby drive a wedge further between the United States and its European allies.

Rogin also didn’t even bother to identify his other FDD source, Richard Goldberg, as a staffer at FDD, perhaps understanding that a piece that’s overly reliant on sources from a pro-regime change/pro-war think tank might be a bit much.

Ironically, Rogin’s story has all the components of the so-called pro-JCPOA “echo chamber” that Iran deal opponents have been whining about (in bad faith, of course). In this case, administration officials are clearly working with sympathetic journalists to get their message out and amplify it. As the Trump administration’s anti-Iran policy encounters various obstacles, the regime-change industry has clearly not given up—and it’s enlisting prominent mainstream media outlets to help.

Ben Armbruster is the communications director for Win Without War and previously served as National Security Editor at ThinkProgress.

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  1. There seems to be no end of ways the USA can interfere in a negative way with other nations with no positive results for anyone except a tiny minority somewhere, with the rest of us sanctioned, bullied, invaded, occupied……….
    Is this the “land of the free” we are all supposed to admire? Trump or anyone else, rarely is there cooperation or any attempt at negotiation or even peace.

  2. Iranians do not need US to have regime change. For thousands of years we have taken care of rogue invaders and rulers in our own way.

  3. Foundation for Defense of Democracy! WOW! Let’s find some democracy for, Ghazan, occupied holy Land, Saudis, people of Bahrain, NOT like the Fredom and Democracy we delivered to, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria & Yemen.

  4. Let’s compare the two societies by leaving the economic and military power aside for a moment. In dogs’ life expectancy one society is at its prime (middle) age of 7 years old (Iran) and the other is like a few months old puppy (USA). The Americans have a lot to learn from Persians life long experiences than the other way around!
    FDD and other think tanks and any other short term actor are lap dogs of Israel planted in the US by the wealthy Z’s to protect Israel’s interests unbeknownst to the Americans en-masse!
    Americans ought to wake up soon and smell the coffee and get to know who’s their real friend(s) and who’s their fleecing and fake friend(s) on this planet! Power alone can NOT buy true friends with money nor can destroy societies militarily!

  5. “..Bloomberg, Lake and Rogin..”. “…Mark Dubowitz…” “…Richard Goldberg…” Are we beginning to see a pattern here? Oh wait, that’s not allowed, is it?

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