Mattis: We're not seeking regime change in Iran

Defense Secretary says U.S. hasn't instituted a policy of regime change or collapse in Iran.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Jim Mattis
Jim Mattis

The United States has not instituted a policy of regime change or collapse in Iran, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday, according to Reuters.

The goal, he noted, was still to curb what Washington sees as Iran’s threatening behavior in the Middle East.

Mattis made his comments after days of back-and-forth rhetoric between Iranian and U.S. officials, with President Donald Trump promising dire consequences for Iran if it continues to make threats toward the United States.

Asked at the Pentagon whether the Trump administration had instituted a policy of regime change or collapse toward Iran, Mattis said, “There’s none that’s been instituted.”

“We need them to change their behavior on a number of threats that they can pose with their military, with their secret services, with their surrogates and with their proxies,” Mattis told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.

Mattis’ remarks were the most detailed by a senior administration official about U.S. policy toward Iran following high-level discussions at the White House on Thursday that included the topic of Iran.

On Sunday, Trump warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Twitter not to threaten the United States again.

Before Trump’s tweet, Rouhani had warned the United States not to "play with the lion's tail", saying that conflict with Iran would be the "mother of all wars".

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, later responded to Trump with a tweet of his own, writing, “Color us unimpressed: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones—for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia and seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. Be cautious!”

Trump later appeared to soften his rhetoric when he kept open the possibility of negotiating an agreement to denuclearize Iran.

However, on Thursday, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, warned Trump, “We are near you, where you can’t even imagine... Come. We are ready ... If you begin the war, we will end the war. You know that this war will destroy all that you possess.”

Tensions have heightened between the U.S. and Iran in recent months, after Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal, under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from November 4 or face financial measures.

Earlier this week, reports said the White House had launched a campaign to pressure Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and support of terrorist organizations.

Both the White House and the State Department declined to comment on the matter.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)