It’s been a long time since the United States has been on the right side when it comes to Iran’s oppression against its people. President Obama conspicuously ignored their pleas when last they had major protests against the government. President Trump isn’t quite as shy as his predecessor.
NEW: U.S. urges "all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption," State Dept. says, after second day of spontaneous protests. https://t.co/0fyl85MUGw pic.twitter.com/MxdyGBSH6S
— ABC News (@ABC) December 29, 2017
We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country. Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.
The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.
On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.” The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.
Iranian persecution of its own citizens isn’t covered as much as it is in other countries because the nation is so isolated. There is speculation that protests happen more regularly than the rest of the world knows, but as former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz pointed out, experts believe they get started before being quashed by the government:
Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs with the Center for Security Policy Fred Fleitz knows quite a bit about Iran. A former CIA analyst, Fleitz has studied the Muslim theocracy for years. He believes the recent protests in Iran may lead to changes.
Changing the culture can only happen when the government willingly lifts its iron fist or is forced to do so. That’s what’s happening in Iran today as protests continue despite harsh tactics used by the government. It’s these harsh tactics that Fleitz pointed out in an article for National Review:
The protests are big enough to break through the shield the Iranian regime has over its people. Now, the world is watching. Will they heed the calls from both Iranian citizens and the U.S. State Department to not allow their voices to be stifled as they were last time?
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
The demonstrations began in the north-eastern city of Mashhad – the country’s second most-populous – on Thursday.
People there took to the streets to express anger at the government over high prices, and vented their fury against President Hassan Rouhani. Fifty-two people were arrested for chanting “harsh slogans”.
Pro-government protests are scheduled for Saturday to commemorate a crackdown on reformists in 2009 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and its Basij militia. Regarding the current protests in Iran, The Revolutionary Guard said, “The Iranian nation … will not allow the country to be hurt.”
Several videos emerged on social media of the protests that showed demonstators peacefully protesting Iran’s government, which is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism – something that former President Barack Obama supported when he ended a massive federal investigation into the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
The U.S. State Department said it is following “multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country.”
“Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” the department said in a statement. “As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.”
Iranians in several major cities took to the streets this week in protests stemming “from seething discontent in Iran,” the BBC reports. The protests started over the state of the economy, but quickly became “a general outcry against clerical rule and government policies.”
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