Iranian officials have condemned US Secretary of Defense James Mattis for calling for regime change in Iran. During an interview with a high school newspaper, Mattis said US relations with Tehran will have to wait “until the Iranian people can get rid of this theocracy.” He also referred to Iran as “the most destabilizing influence in the Middle East.” The interview, published June 20, went viral July 10 and was picked up by a number of English-language media outlets.
Iranian officials responded on July 11. “Instead of making decisions for other countries, the secretary of defense and the American ruling party better think about their own domestic issues and review the causes of the collapse of its administration in the not too distant future,” said Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan. He added that Mattis’ comments “ignore the strengths of other countries and feign not knowing the historical reality of the consequences of such comments.”