Iran has accused the United States of interfering in its domestic affairs after calls by the US Secretary of State to support “elements” that would ensure a “peaceful transition” in the Islamic Republic. Tehran also officially delivered a note of protest to the UN.
Speaking last Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rex Tillerson said Washington will support efforts of a regime change in Iran.
“Our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know,” Tillerson said on June 14.
In addition to voicing Washington’s apparent support of a regime change, Tillerson also said the US could pursue sanctions on Iran’s entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Tillerson's remarks sparked an avalanche of criticism and condemnation from Iran. In the latest development, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss charge d’affaires to Tehran to protest Washington’s policy. The Embassy of Switzerland represents American interests in the Islamic Republic after the US cut diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1980 in the wake of the 400-day US Embassy hostage crisis of 1979-1981.
“Following the interfering and meddling statements made by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson... the charge d’affaires of the European country was summoned to express Iran’s complaint about Tillerson's anti-Iran remarks in the country’s House of Representatives,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement, Mehr News reported.
Earlier on Monday, Iran’s permanent envoy to the UN also delivered a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council, accusing Washington of devising a “brazen interventionist plan.”
Tillerson’s remarks “is a brazen interventionist plan that runs counter to every norm and principle of international law, as well as the letter and spirit of UN Charter, and constitutes an unacceptable behavior in international relations,” Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in the letter.
Tehran further accused the US of violating the 1981 Algiers Accords, a set of agreements signed by Washington and Tehran to end the Iran hostage crisis.
“The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran’s internal affairs,” Point I of the Accord reads.
Prior to the diplomatic maneuvers, the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said any US regime change game has always and will always fail in Iran.
“In the past 38 years, when has there been a time when you haven't wanted to change the Islamic system?” Khamenei said according to the Tehran Times. “Your head has hit the rock each time and always will.”
“US officials should worry more about saving their own regime than changing Iran’s, where 75% of people just voted,” Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, referring to Iran's May 19 election and the high voter turnout.
“American extremists and Daesh (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL)” are “two sides of the same coin, both seeking to negatively influence the country’s internal environment and make security issues a major concern for Iran,” the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said in reaction to Tillerson's remarks, the Tehran Times reported.
Already strained US-Iranian relations have deteriorated in recent months after Donald Trump assumed office.
During his campaign, Trump promised to “dismantle the disastrous [nuclear] deal with Iran,” which the Obama administration lauded among its main foreign policy achievements.
While Tillerson acknowledged last week, that the State’s Department Iranian policy is still “under development,” and has “not yet been delivered to the president.”
Trump has also previously branded Iran as “the number one terrorist state.”
The frosty bilateral relations between the US and Iran has iced further after Tehran accused the US of sponsoring terrorism following the deadly terrorist gun and bomb attacks on the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine in Tehran earlier this month. At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured in the twin attacks.