By Gareth Porter
"Vice President Dick Cheney and his neoconservative allies in the George W. Bush administration only began agitating for the use of military force against Iran once they had finally given up the illusion that regime change in Iran would happen without it.
And they did not give it up until late 2005, according to a former high-level Foreign Service officer who participated in the United States discussions with Iran from 2001 until late 2005.....
Within the administration, meanwhile, Wurmser was looking for the opportunity to propose a military option against Iran. In his September 2007 interview with the Telegraph shortly after leaving Cheney's office, he insisted that the United States must be willing to "escalate as far as we need to go to topple the [Iranian] regime if necessary."
That opportunity seemed to present itself in the aftermath of Israel's failed attempt to deal a major blow to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006.
Neoconservatives aligned with Cheney argued that Iran was now threatening U.S. dominant power in the region, through its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian territory and its nuclear program. They insisted the administration had to push back by targeting Iran's Quds Force personnel in Iraq, increasing naval presence in the Gulf, and accusing Iran of supporting the killing of U.S. troops.
Although the ostensible rationale was to pressure Iran to back down on the nuclear issue, in light of the previous views, it appears that they were hoping to use military power against Iran to accomplish their original goal of regime change."