Foreign Policy

Trump Stands in Solidarity With Iranian Freedom Movement

Unlike Obama, Trump issues statement in support of Iranians protesting the Islamic Republic.

Thomas Gallatin · Jan. 13, 2020

Over the weekend, protests erupted throughout Iran following the government’s acknowledgment that its military was responsible for unintentionally shooting down a Ukrainian airliner, which killed 176 people. Chants of “Death to the dictator” were shouted by protesters directing their ire toward the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. One banner read “Apologize and Resign,” while a group of protesters was caught in a video clip saying, “They are lying that our enemy is America; our enemy is right here.”

This latest uprising is reminiscent of the massive anti-government protests that erupted across Iran in late 2009. That was known as the Green Movement, and the anger was over rigged elections. It was recognized by many at the time as the first substantial populous uprising against the Islamic Republic and its facade of a democracy since the mullahs took power after overthrowing the Shah in 1979. As in 2009, Iranians are again calling for freedom and the removal of a tyrannical and murderous government.

However, what’s different about these 2020 protests compared to those in 2009 is the U.S. president’s response. Back in 2009, Barack Obama issued a tepid condemnation of violence against the protesters, stating that it was “not how governments should interact with their people.” Beyond that, however, Obama ignored the protests. He even ridiculously asserted that he wanted to avoid providing then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad any U.S. statements that could be used as a “political football.” Then, years later via his terrible Iran nuclear deal, Obama effectively threw the terror-funding Iranian regime a lifeline.

Fast-forward to this past weekend when President Donald Trump issued unequivocal statements in support of the protest movement. “To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage,” he told protesters. On the other hand, Trump also had a message for the Iranian regime: “To the leaders of Iran — DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!” Trump’s messages were also broadcast on social media in Farsi, Iran’s native language.

To recap, Trump reversed Obama’s Iranian appeasement policy by pulling out of the nuclear deal, and he’s ratcheted up pressure on the terror-funding tyrannical regime via sanctions while decisively responding to Iran’s coordinated attack against the American embassy in Baghdad by green-lighting U.S. military action to take out top terrorist Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Furthermore, unlike Obama, Trump recognizes that the main problem with Iran is the elitist authoritarians running the country. Obama turned a cold shoulder to protesters and funded the terrorist regime, while Trump openly embraces the spirit of Liberty.

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