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Zarif: US ‘action group’ will fail to overthrow Iran regime

Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Wolfgang Kumm/DPA/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that a newly established Iran Action Group in the U.S. State Department aims to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, but it would fail.

Zarif made the comments on Twitter on August 19, the 65th anniversary of a U.S.-backed coup that overthrew democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

The 1953 coup restored to power Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was later toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“65 years ago today, the US overthrew the popularly elected democratic government of Dr. Mossadegh, restoring the dictatorship & subjugating Iranians for the next 25 years. Now an ‘Action Group’ dreams of doing the same through pressure, misinformation & demagoguery. Never again,” Zarif tweeted.

Accusing Iran of unleashing a “torrent of violence and destabilizing behavior against the United States, our allies, our partners and, indeed, the Iranian people themselves,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 16 announced the creation of the Iran Action Group, saying it will drive U.S. policy in Washington and overseas.

“We’re committed to a whole-government effort to change the Iranian regime’s behavior, and the Iran Action Group will ensure that the State Department remains closely synchronized with our interagency partners,” Pompeo said.

The group will be led by Brian Hook, who is currently the State Department’s director of policy planning.

The move came after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers in May, and early this month reimposed economic sanctions that were lifted under the agreement.

Trump has called on Iran to negotiate a new deal that would entirely rid Iran of nuclear weapons capability and also curb its development of ballistic missiles, which has been a point of contention between Tehran and Washington for years.

The U.S. administration has consistently said it is not seeking regime change in Iran but a “change in behavior.”

With reporting by Reuters