President Obama was roundly criticized for his failure to publicly support the protesters in Iran’s Green Revolution of 2009. He remained silent and stood on the sidelines as the mullahs crushed those who took to the streets seeking electoral reform.
But Mr. Obama would likely make the argument that without such abstention, the all-important Iran nuclear agreement would never have been possible. Indeed, one hears calls for President Trump to take the same road and stay out of Iranian affairs, in the hope that some rapprochement with the theocrats in power may be possible.
Instead, Mr. Trump has taken to delivering daily condemnations of the government crackdowns, making promises of ever-increasing economic sanctions against various parts of the Iranian government, and calling for regime change. And all of this is coming in the context of Mr. Trump’s vow to gut some of the key sweetheart deals the Iranians wangled out of the Obama/Kerry team. More than just words are already in play.
Some argue that U.S. involvement will be counterproductive. They say the protesters would be characterized as American pawns. But President Trump should stay the course – if only because the demonstrations seem to be focused on the economic self-interests of everyday Iranians who are unduly burdened by the expensive foreign adventures of their government in support of Hizbullah and Hamas.
And we cannot be unmindful of the testimony of Soviet dissidents as to how important the pubic support of the United States was to their efforts.