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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

AEI Scholars Call for Iran Regime Change and Possible War

AEI Scholars Call for Iran Regime Change and Possible War

As tensions with Iran increase, many of the neoconservatives who laid the ideological and strategic frameworks for the invasion of Iraq are calling on the Bush administration to prepare for a preventive war against Iran and to immediately implement a “regime change” strategy.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), along with the Project for the New American Century, provided the Bush administration with many of the key members of its foreign policy team. In a January 2003 speech at AEI, President Bush noted that 20 AEI associates had joined his administration. Today, AEI scholars Reuel Marc Gerecht, David Frum, Michael Rubin, and Michael Ledeen are beating the drums for a preventive war against Iran or for a “regime change” strategy that rests on additional U.S. aid to select Iranian dissidents. We have included excerpts from their recent essays to provide readers a quick overview of the neocon arguments for expanded U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

Stephen Zunes, Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus (a joint project of the IRC and the Institute for Policy Studies) and professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, was among the leading critics of the pro-war arguments for preventive war against Iraq. In a recent analysis from FPIF, Zunes argues for a less bellicose U.S. foreign policy toward Iran and a more even-handed policy on nuclear proliferation issues. FPIF

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Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


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