A bipartisan array of U.S. lawmakers have thrown their support behind Iranian protesters marching against the regime in the most turbulent unrests in the Islamic Republic since the Green Revolution in 2009.
President Donald Trump said that “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime,” and that “the people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”
Vice President Mike Pence echoed the President’s sentiment: “The bold and growing resistance of the Iranian people today gives hope and faith to all who struggle for freedom and against tyranny. We must not and we will not let them down.”
Tens of thousands of Iranians have been marching since Thursday demanding the overthrow of the entire regime. The marches began as a protest against spending money on military expansionism rather than the Iranian economy, and since then other grievances – political freedom, gender persecution, and so on – have been added.
“The world is closely watching how Iranian officials respond to the legitimate calls of Iran’s citizens for reform,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “If the response is violence, repression, and imprisonment, the United States has tools to target human rights abusers.”
Bernie Sanders, Democratic Senator from Vermont, observed that “The government of Iran should respect this right and heed the voices of thousands of Iranians who are demonstrating across the country for better opportunities and a better future.”
Some legislators criticized former President Barack Obama’s delayed response to the 2009 Green Revolution, which resulted in a brutal crackdown. “We must learn our lesson from 2009 and not repeat the same mistake. Millions of Iranians are desperate right now for American leadership to help them turn the tide in Tehran and all throughout Iran,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican from New York, said.
Democrat Brendan Boyle, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed support for the protesters and criticized the muted response from European governments. Responding to a statement from the UK’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, he said: “Weak, Weak, Weak…The West should stand clearly and unflinchingly on the side of those who are risking life and limb to protest for freedom.”
[Photo: soccerdhg / Flickr ]