Given the very noticeable rise in threatening rhetoric focused on Iran over the past week, it seems thoughts of regime change in Tehran are once again top of the agenda. Or perhaps simultaneously the administration needs a significant distraction of sorts amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the persistent national reopening question and agenda.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went gloves off on Twitter, attacking Iran's 'Supreme Leader' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blasting him as “anti-Semitic”, “disgusting” and as someone representing “hate speech,” according to Pompeo's remarks.
The United States condemns Supreme Leader Khamenei's disgusting and hateful anti-Semitic remarks. They have no place on Twitter or on any other social media platform. We know Khamenei’s vile rhetoric does not represent the Iranian people’s tradition of tolerance. pic.twitter.com/cfBhyOfFa9— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 20, 2020
He announced new sanctions on the Iranian government, specifically targeting the Minister of Interior, Abdolreza Rahmani, as well as top intelligence officials, for leading protest crackdowns and human rights violations.
But Pompeo didn't stop at Iran, in follow-up tweets coming just minutes and hours apart calling out the “dictatorial Castro regime” as well as Maduro, urging “peaceful democratic transition for Venezuela” — or again in other words regime change.
Two years ago today, Maduro showed the Venezuelan people and the world that there can be no free and fair election while he occupies Miraflores Palace. The Democratic Transition Framework provides a roadmap for peaceful democratic transition for Venezuela. https://t.co/eB5TDZIuBk— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 20, 2020
Within a few hours he issued no less than nine tweets targeting Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela. On Cuba the US top diplomat called out the “Castro regime” who has “trampled the rights of the Cuban people”.
“I salute the brave Cubans who continue the fight for democracy and prosperity. The United States stands with you,” he added.
Today, Cubans celebrate their independence, yet the struggle for freedom continues. The dictatorial Castro regime has trampled the rights of the Cuban people. I salute the brave Cubans who continue the fight for democracy and prosperity. The United States stands with you.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 20, 2020
White House and State Department briefings have been COVID-19 focused of late, whether on the domestic front or abroad — where the administration has been in a blame-game war of words with China over the virus origins and accompanying economic shutdown — but Wednesday's Pompeo tweet rampage strongly suggests he's ready to get back to the business of regime change.
Recall that last summer was dominated by 'tanker wars' in the gulf and Mediterranean. It appears we're in for another hot one.