State Dept. official: We are not pursuing regime change in Iran

State Dept. official: We are not pursuing regime change in Iran
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The deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq and Iran said in a recent interview that the Trump administration is not pursuing regime change in Iran.

Andrew Peek told The National that the administration is trying to alter the behavior of the Iran's current leadership.

"We are not talking about anything else. What we would like to see above all is the regime change its behavior, in a whole lot of ways, but in particular towards the protesters," Peek said.

Peek’s comments come as the president and high-level officials in the Trump administration voice support for protesters in Iran.

The protests began last week over economic concerns, reports say, but have shifted toward anti-government demonstrations focused on Iran’s clerical rulers. 

Peek, a former military intelligence officer, told the news outlet that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been “tone deaf” in his reaction to the demonstrations.

Trump has said it’s “time for change” in Iran, adding Wednesday that the protesters will receive “great support” from the U.S. “at the appropriate time.” Lawmakers in both parties have also expressed support for the protesters.

At least 20 individuals have died since the protests began last week, according to The Washington Post.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: Haley would be 'very strong' presidential candidate Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet MORE on Tuesday called for emergency sessions in both New York and Geneva over the protests.