Over the past weekend, protestors poured into the streets of cities across Iran, calling for the resignation of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for allowing the shootdown of the Ukrainian airliner that killed 176 passengers and crew. The protestors also chanted that the regime is the enemy of the people of Iran, not the United States or Israel. They tore down posters of Gassim Soleimani that had been put up during the mass funeral for the fallen terrorist leader. According to the Washington Examiner, President Donald Trump offered encouragement,
“President Trump’s tweet in Farsi expressing support for Iranians protesting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already earned over 200,000 likes, making it the ‘most liked Persian tweet’ in the social media giant’s history, according to a leading think tank adviser.”
Trump’s tweet read, “’To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring,’ Trump wrote.”
The protests are serving as a sharp rebuke to some members of the media who claimed that Soleimani was much beloved inside Iran, with his death being greeted in the same manner as the West did the deaths of Princess Diana and Elvis Pressley. In fact, as some Iran experts have pointed out, the leader of the Al Quds force is pretty much hated by the vast majority of Iranians, regarding him as the instrument of their oppression.
The Iranian people also, by their actions, rebuked those members of the media and some American politicians who blamed President Trump for the shoot down of the airliner. They pointed the finger of accusation against their own government.
Trump later added another tweet in Farsi that stated, “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!”
President Trump’s encouragement of the Iranian resistance stands in stark contrast with President Obama. When the Green Revolution erupted in Iran in 2009, Obama favored them with icy silence while government authorities violently suppressed the Iranian resistance. Obama strategy toward Iran was more in the way of accommodation, the theory being that diplomacy could bring the mullahs to moderation. The policy led to the controversial nuclear arms agreement, which the Obama administration did not bother to submit to Senate advice and consent. The agreement featured the release of $150 billion that had been frozen since the Iran hostage crisis and the delivery of $1.7 billion in pallets on board an airplane in the middle of the night.
Rather than moderate, the Iranian government used the money to finance a terror campaign and to develop ballistic missiles. Iran is even suspected of cheating on the nuclear agreement.
Trump’s policy has been the polar opposite of that of his predecessor. He pulled out of the nuclear agreement and imposed crippling economic sanctions against Iran. Trump has been judicious about the use of force. The killing of Soleimani was an exception to the rule. Trump’s policy has been to only use force when American blood is spilled.
Trump opened his mind to his Iran policy when he tweeted, “National Security Adviser suggested today that sanctions & protests have Iran ‘choked off’, will force them to negotiate. Actually, I couldn’t care less if they negotiate. Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and ‘don’t kill your protesters.’”
Analysts who are familiar with the way President Trump negotiates believe that the tweet was a classic tactic, right out of “The Art of the Deal.” He intends to squeeze the Iranian government until it is forced to come to him as a suppliant. Then Trump believes that he can dictate terms.
On the other hand, the current uprising could lead to the fall of the Islamic Republic of Iran, just as the Islamic Revolution led to the fall of the Iranian monarchy. Such an event, needless to say, would suit Trump’s purposes and American interests even better.