Washington: A top Obama administration official has said that tougher sanctions against Iran over its defiance on its nuclear programme could trigger regime change in Tehran.
"We are not actively engineering regime change in the sense that we believe that the people of Iran will carve out their own destiny," National Security Advisor General (rtd) James Jones told the Fox News in an interview on Sunday.
"We support pro-democracy. We know that, internally, that there`s a very serious problem. We`re about to add to that regime`s difficulties by engineering, participating in, very tough sanctions which we support, not mild sanctions. These are very tough sanctions. The combination of those things could well trigger regime change. It`s possible," Jones said in response to a question.
"The combination of internal and external problems is certainly not going to make life easier for the government of Iran," he said.
Last week, the Obama administration had slapped additional sanctions on Iran`s elite Revolutionary Guards. The US is also seriously moving towards passing tougher sanctions against Iran through the UN Security Council.
"We are going through the UN this month to present sanctions and to seek solidarity. We have tremendous support," Jones said, adding the US needs to work on China a little bit more. "But China wants to be seen as a responsible global influence in this. On this issue, they cannot be non-supportive."
"Russia is supportive and is on board and has been a steady friend and ally on this, with President (Barack) Obama and President (Dmitry) Medvedev working closely together on this issue," Jones said.
"We do have tremendous global solidarity on this issue, which is, extremely important. Proliferation is the biggest threat that we face. We`ve achieved some good progress with North Korea on this issue. We would like to do the same thing with Iran," he said.
"But at the end of the day, the Europeans -- most of the countries in the Arab world, by the way, who would be vulnerable to an arms race if we`re not successful here; a nuclear arms race in the Gulf is a possible consequence. So I think Iran needs to weigh very carefully how it wishes to proceed," Jones said.
In another interview to the CNN Jones said: "The best solution is that Iran would in fact see the offer that`s on the table for what it is, that is supported by much of the world community, and that it gives them a chance to show their peaceful intent with the regard to the use of nuclear power."
It is puzzling, to say the least, as to why they have not accepted this offer, he said.
"I know that Iran is going through some difficult times internally. We know that the world is moving towards the next set of persuasive powers to show them the error of their ways in the form of sanctions, but the right thing to do is to hope that Iran will, in fact, agree," Jones said.