The Trump Administration has signalled that it is seeking regime change in Iran by leaking the news that Michael d’Andrea — known for his supervision of covert operations against Al Qa’eda — is taking over the Iran portfolio.

Fed by US officials, The New York Times has a long, colorful, and largely positive profile about the “Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike” — one which ignores the damaging legacy of the CIA’s 1953 coup in Iran and the Iranian opposition’s concern that US intervention would be the death knell for reforms in the Islamic Republic, instead strengthening hardliners opposed to the Rouhani Government.

So what is the Trump Administration playing at? Is it really planning to pursue covert operations by loudly declaring covert operations? Is this just a bit of PR trying to rattle the Supreme Leader and others in the Iranian regime? Or is it another example of an incoherent, inept Administration striking a pose without considering the consequences?

I spoke with Monocle 24’s The Daily on Friday night about the developments.

Listen from 22:03:

TOP PHOTO: Larry Downing/Reuters