The United States Has No Business in Iran
A wave of protests has swept over Iran in the past few weeks, and with opposition to the regime mounting, President Trump and US hawks alike view it as a prime opportunity to destroy the current Iranian theocracy. Trump has repeatedly voiced his support for the protests on Twitter, and John Bolton has called for a new wave of sanctions on the powerful theocracy. Unfortunately, this is entirely the wrong path for the United States to pursue in Iran.
Firstly, these protests are tiny compared to the power of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The current protests have mustered tens of thousands of Iranians into the streets, but when compared to the millions who marched in 2009, this number is insignificant. The IRGC, meanwhile, has roughly 120,000 active personnel, and this is in addition to Iran's 523,000 military personnel. There is simply no way that a few thousand students can overthrow the Iranian regime. Uprisings in Mashhad, Rasht, and Hamadan have not sparked major protests in Tehran, Iran's capital city and the largest city in Iran by a huge margin. These protests cannot possibly lead to regime change. Hassan Rouhani is too popular among the Iranian middle class, and Iran's government is far too powerful to fall to a few thousand protestors.
Secondly, and more obviously, destabilizing Iran would have horrible implications for the rest of the Middle East, and could perhaps have rippling effects noticeable throughout the world. Iran is a country of 80 million people with a hodgepodge of various ethnic groups - Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Azeris, and everything in between. If the government in Tehran falls, it is likely that the Kurds will rise in the North, resulting in Turkish military intervention in Northern Iran. Iraq could potentially invade Iran once again in the pursuit of oil, in the wake of a collapsing regime. The new regime will likely be unstable, as the current regime has several supporters. The current situation in Iran is nothing like that of 1979. Ayatollah Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani are both popular leaders, and this doesn't appear likely to change.
Thirdly, American support to the Iranian protestors, be it based on vocal support or actual monetary support, is counterproductive to its goal of overthrowing the regime. 77% of Iranians have an unfavorable view of the United States government. If the US government helps the protestors, the protestors will be viewed as western puppets - memories of the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh by the US in 1953 are still present. The fact that the US is transparently supporting the protestors makes it clear that the Trump administration fundamentally misunderstands the Islamic Republic of Iran and her people.
Overthrowing the Iranian theocracy is a neoconservative fantasy which is both a terrible idea, and an idea which is impossible to execute. Any attempt to help overthrow the regime demonstrates nothing but pure incompetence on behalf of the Trump administration. The United States, in the interest of peace and stability, should not meddle in Iranian internal affairs.