The White House turns a blind eye as Iranians risk their lives to protest an autocratic regime.
By Majid Rafizadeh, The Gatestone Institute
When the people of Iran rose up by the millions against the Iranian regime in 2009, the Obama administration stayed abhorrently silent. People on the streets in Iran began chanting, “Obama, Obama, are you with them [the ruling mullahs] or with us?” The Obama administration offered no support.
The administration’s dismissal of their agony not only enabled the mullahs brutally to crush the demonstrations with impunity; the mullahs were even rewarded with a deal that would enable them to have legitimate nuclear weapons capability down the road and billions of dollars thrown in.
Obama and the Iranian regime sold the world the idea that appeasement towards the mullahs and lifting UN sanctions would supposedly help the Iranian people and make the Iranian government a constructive player. Instead, the opposite took place.
This year, on July 15, many in Iran rose against the regime again; again, the Biden administration remained totally silent, just as Obama did. When people in dozens of cities in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan rose up against the regime, young demonstrators have reportedly been killed by security forces.
Videos have emerged showing that people in Tehran and other cities were heard chanting “Death to the Dictator” and “Death to Khamenei”. In addition, workers of the essential oil and gas industry have gone on a nationwide strike.
According to Amnesty International:
“Iran’s security forces have deployed unlawful force, including by firing live ammunition and birdshot, to crush mostly peaceful protests taking place across the southern province of Khuzestan… Video footage from the past week, coupled with consistent accounts from the ground, indicate security forces used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns with inherently indiscriminate ammunition, and tear gas to disperse protesters.
“Since protests over severe water shortages erupted in Khuzestan on 15 July, security forces have killed at least eight protesters and bystanders, including a teenage boy, in seven different cities.”
The regime’s first reaction to peaceful protests has been to deploy brute force. As Tara Sepehri Far, a researcher on Iran at Human Rights Watch, pointed out:
“Iranian authorities have a very troubling record of responding with bullets to protesters frustrated with mounting economic difficulties and deteriorating living conditions.”
The Biden administration has, as of yet, not uttered even one word of condemnation. People can and should be wondering how a country that boasts about freedom and civil rights can be silent while other humans are being butchered because they desire that same freedom and those same rights? Is silence not a betrayal of justice, freedom and democracy?
It is also no secret that that the Iranian regime is, according to the U.S. Department of State, not only still the leading state sponsor of terrorism; it also “wins [the] world record” for the most executions per capita. The regime, according to Amnesty International, is also a “leading executioner” of children.
The Biden administration then must surely know, then, that if the Iranian people succeed in changing this brutal Islamist regime, they will bring down the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, a leading regime in human rights violations, and a leading state sponsor of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Moreover, Iran, with its proxies, having effectively taken control of Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the Gaza Strip — and now reportedly eyeing Jordan — seems to have plans to become the leading hegemon in the region. It also has for decades been setting up proxy operations in Latin America, particularly Cuba and Venezuela, the soft underbelly of the United States.
Iran, with its current regime, is a danger not just to its long-suffering people, but to everyone. These protesters, who are flooding the streets and demanding that their voices be heard, are displaying acts of heroism that will be felt throughout the world and throughout history.
The Biden administration should know that “he who is silent consents.” Is this the message that the Biden administration wants as his legacy to send to the protesters who are risking their lives to bring freedom not only to their nation but eventually to the world?
It is just so hypocritical and heartbreaking to see that the international community and the United Nations simply watch while peaceful protesters are beaten, brutalized and killed – with not a breath of international condemnation for the tyrants or of support for these brave and long-suffering souls.
While many in Iran are risking their lives in their struggle to change their predatory regime, and while many have been killed by the Iranian regime’s force, the Biden administration has so far not shown even the slightest interest in even verbally condemning the brutal mullahs of Iran. Instead, the current U.S. administration continues cozying up to them, presumably in the hope of reviving the disastrous nuclear deal and lifting all sanctions to help them continue their marauding, expansion and terror.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East.