On the 40th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, President Trump attempted to reach out to Iranians in their own language by tweeting “the long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future.” Notably this marks the first time in history a sitting US president issued a social media statement in Persian, or the Farsi language.
Though we don’t expect the “birthday wishes” on the occasion of the Ayatollah’s founding their Islamic Republic to be received too warmly inside Iran, as the message also appeared a veiled threat of regime change.
“40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only
#40YearsofFailure. The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future” — the president tweeted in Farsi and in English.
We wonder what poor low-level CIA or State Department analyst had to be pulled from their work and into the White House to compose the foreign language tweet for the president.
But on a more serious note, a number of observers were quick to point out that between national security adviser John Bolton’s prior tweet and the president’s statement, it appears regime change in Tehran is indeed the administration’s current policy, something that’s been adamantly denied in the past.
For example starting last August Bolton has repeatedly claimed “our policy is not regime change” but opted for language that stops short, describing instead a policy of “unprecedented pressure on the government of Iran to change its behavior.” This didn’t stop political opponents like former Secretary of State John Kerry from accusing the White House pursuing an active policy of regime change in Iran.
Dear Iran regime,
Happy birthday ???
We will end you,
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) February 11, 2019
Bolton earlier on Monday tweeted two messages with a similar theme with that of Trump’s, saying Iran’s leaders have “failed to fulfill its promises to uphold and safeguard the rights of its citizens” and that it’s up to the people to “determine the direction of their country” which Bolton follows by saying the US plans to “support the will of the Iranian people” and will “stand behind them”.
Moreover, Bolton was featured in a one minute video on Monday which was uploaded to the White House’s official Twitter account, wherein he issued perhaps the most blunt and direct threat of the day, addressed specifically to Ayatollah Khamenei:
“I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries left to enjoy.”
A message to the Ayatollah of Iran: "For all your boasts, for all your threats to the life of the American President, YOU are responsible for terrorizing your own people." #40YearsofFailure pic.twitter.com/gpCL1FeLis
— The White House 45 Archived (@WhiteHouse45) February 11, 2019
“What a 40 years its been, tyrannizing its own people and terrorizing the world, Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons to intimidate peaceful people all around the globe and ballistic missiles to use as delivery systems,” Bolton said in the clip. “Iran under the ayatollahs remains the central banker of international terrorism and its conventional military forces are all over the Middle East, in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.”
“Perhaps worst of all the people of Iran have suffered grievously, right now unemployment is at record levels, inflation is at all-time highs, the Iranian currency has gone through the floor,” he continued. “So Ayatollah Khamenei, for all your boasts, for all your threats to the life of the American president, you are responsible for terrorizing your own people and terrorizing the world as a whole, I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries left to enjoy.”
After both Trump and Bolton’s messages related to the “40YearsofFailure” hashtag, Iran analyst and author for The National Interest observed, “OK, so its official: This policy is regime change.”
Though we doubt the president had to address the Iranians directly in Farsi for them to figure that out, but perhaps it helps with the propaganda value.