Cotton: We Should Support the Iranian People's Protests Against 'Hateful' Ayatollahs

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) leaves the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon in the U.S. Capitol November 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
December 29, 2017

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Thursday issued a statement of support for Iranian citizens protesting against their government, condemning the regime's "hateful ideology" as more committed to regional conflicts than to the needs of its people.

Hundreds of citizens protested Thursday in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, over high prices and economic mismanagement. According to Reuters, they shouted slogans like "death to (President Hassan) Rouhani" and "death to the dictator."

"Even after the billions in sanctions relief they secured through the nuclear deal, the ayatollahs still can’t provide for the basic needs of their own people—perhaps because they’ve funneled so much of that money into their campaign of regional aggression in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen," Cotton said. "The protests in Mashhad show that a regime driven by such a hateful ideology cannot maintain broad popular support forever, and we should support the Iranian people who are willing to risk their lives to speak out against it."

Cotton is a staunch critic of the Iranian regime and the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration. He urged President Donald Trump to decertify Iranian compliance with the deal in October.

Iranians are frustrated with their economic situation and failure to gain benefits from the nuclear agreement, Reuters reported:

Unemployment stood at 12.4 percent in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, up 1.4 percent from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million.

Some protesters chanted "leave Syria, think about us," referring to Iranian troops assisting Bashar al-Assad's regime in the Syrian civil war.