John Limbert:

John Limbert is a retired Foreign Service Officer. A former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iranian affairs, he also served at the US Embassy in Tehran where was held hostage for 14 months.

“The angry Mojahed lies in ambush in the alley,
American, come out. Your blood will flow on the ground.”

Thus sang the militants of the Iranian opposition group MEK (Mojahedin-e-Khalq) to a catchy Kurdish folk tune. Now the same group—rebranding itself as democratic and pluralistic—presents itself as the best alternative to the current reactionary theocracy. In so doing, it has purchased support from Americans on both left and right, including the current national security advisor, the president’s personal attorney, and the former speaker of the House of Representatives.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech in California on Sunday night reveals some basic facts about the administration’s approach to Iran.

- It does not know what it wants beyond the end of the Islamic Republic.

- It knows what it does not want. It has no idea what it does want.

- It traces Iranian woes and misdeeds to what Pompeo called “the Iranian Revolution” of 40 years ago, ignoring the reality that that mass movement included those calling for a democratic Iran.

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