The official, speaking this week on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the administration hopes that sanctions “create enough hate and discontent at the street level” that Iranians will turn against their government…
But the intelligence official’s remarks pointed to a more profound goal, even as the administration has reiterated its willingness to open a dialogue with Iran. Although designed to pressure a government to change its policies, it is a recognized but generally unspoken reality that economic sanctions usually have far more effect on general populations than on elites.
A senior administration official, speaking separately, acknowledged that public discontent was a likely result of more punitive sanctions against Iran’s already faltering economy. But this official said it was not the administration’s intent to press the Iranian people toward an attempt to oust their government.
Update (AP): WaPo’s now tacked on a correction to the story. Hmmm:
“An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that a U.S. intelligence official had described regime collapse as a goal of U.S. and other sanctions against Iran. An updated version clarifies the official’s remarks.”