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US politician urges Iran 'sabotage'
Former house speaker says "covert operations" should be used to replace government.
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2009 12:13 GMT
Gingrich says the US should target Iran's oil and gas infrastructure to topple the government [EPA file]

The former speaker of the US House of Representatives has said that the US should "sabotage" Iran's oil and gas infrastructure as part of its efforts to bring down the government.

In an interview with Al Jazeera's Avi Lewis for the Fault Lines programme, Republican Newt Gingrich said targeting Iran's refinery would spark an economic crisis that would destabilise the government in Tehran.

He said the US should "use covert operations … to create a gasoline-led crisis to try and replace the regime".

"I think we have a vested interest, the world has a vested interest, in a responsible Iranian government, just as we have a vested interest in a responsible North Korean government," he said.

In depth

Newt Gingrich speaks to Al Jazeera on Iran

While Barack Obama, the US president, has attempted diplomatic engagement with Iran following years of icy relations, some of his administration's critics have been calling for destabilisation instead.

But Gingrich qualified that such a tactic to destabilise would only be "one piece out of many".

"I think that the Reagan strategy in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s is the right strategy: we use economic, diplomatic, psychological pressures to try to change the regime."

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