U.S. Sides With Anti-Iranian Regime Protesters Amid Crackdown

Protests stretch into fourth day across Iran

Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems
Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems / Getty Images
• December 31, 2017 11:55 am


The Trump administration and U.S. lawmakers have expressed solidarity with anti-Iranian regime protesters who have taken to the streets across the Islamic Republic for what is now the fourth day in a row.

Iranian citizens fed up with the skyrocketing prices of food and other basic necessities in Iran have launched protests in several key Iranian cities, including Tehran, to express anger at the hardline government, which, despite receiving billions in cash windfalls as a result of the landmark nuclear deal, has done little to revive Iran's ailing economy.

While the Iranian regime has invested billions on advanced new weaponry and engaged in what Iranian leaders have described as a massive military buildup, the economic revival promised by the Obama administration and Iranian leaders who negotiated the nuclear deal has failed to materialize.

Iranian protesters across the country have been seen in videos posted on social media demonstrating against the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, a so-called Iranian "reformer," and his allies in the regime.

Fed up with ongoing economic woes, the protesters have even taken aim at the clerical ruling regime headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, sparking counter-demonstrations from supporters of the hardline Islamic government.

"The people are living like beggars, the [Supreme Leader] is behaving like God," some protesters could be heard chanting in Farsi, according to videos posted on Twitter and independently verified.

Other videos showed Iranian forces responding violently to disburse the protesters by shooting tear gas. Members of Iran's Basij Force, a volunteer organization affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, have reportedly beat down protesters in efforts to suppress the demonstrations.

Chants of "death to Khamenei," also could be heard, eliciting reminders of 2009 protests in Iran that were crushed by the ruling government after the Obama administration declined to express its support for the protesters.

The Trump administration took a decidedly different approach to the current unrest, saying in a statement that "the world is watching" the Iranian people and the regime's response to the demonstrations.

"There are many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regime's corruption and its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism abroad," the White House said. "The Iranian government should respect their people's rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching."

Some in Congress have already thrown their support behind the demonstrators, stating publicly that they stand alongside the anti-regime voices.

"The U.S. needs to stand with the people of Iran who are protesting an unjust, militant Islamic tyranny," Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon.

"Since 1979 the people of Iran have been held hostage by Khomeneism and the nation's economic and cultural progress has been stymied as a result," DeSantis said. "I urge President Trump to show his support for those fighting against totalitarianism."

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chair of the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, praised the Iranian protesters for having the courage to facedown a tyrannical government known for crushing dissent and imprisoning reformist voices.

"Once again, the Iranian people are defying their oppressive rulers to demand their God-given right to live freely," Nunes said. "At great personal risk to themselves, these men and women are showing the world that even the Mullahs' own people view their government as a rogue regime."

"Their brave defiance deserves the full support of the U.S. government and of people everywhere who yearn to see a free Iran," he said.

Published under: Iran