A widely held assumption about a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is that it would spur Iranian citizens — many of whom appear to despise their rulers — to rally around the regime. But Netanyahu, I’m told, believes a successful raid could unclothe the emperor, emboldening Iran’s citizens to overthrow the regime (as they tried to do, unsuccessfully, in 2009).As Larison notes, this is dubious reasoning:
When a foreign government or group launches an attack on their home country, people instinctively band together behind their leaders, and it usually makes no difference whether those leaders are elected or just. Even Iranians that don’t support the nuclear program aren’t going to respond favorably to a foreign attack on their country, and most Iranians do support the program. There is no nation in the world that would greet foreign military action against their country as a signal effectively to commit treason en masse in order to facilitate the regime change desired by the attacking government.
The idea that Iranians would cheer on an attack against their country and fellow citizens and use it as excuse to start a revolution sounds like the Iran war's version of "we'll be greeted as liberators."