Iranians' Voice Should Be Heard: US Envoy

Vanessa Beaulieu
Janvier 14, 2018

The United Nations Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting Friday afternoon on what U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has described as the "troubling and dangerous situation in Iran".

After the Iron Curtain fell, it became known that it was the forthright words of support expressed forthrightly and persistently by the leaders of the western world that gave the people of eastern Europe the courage to persevere against their political masters.

Mr Trump has been vocal in his support of the protests, which he said were a response to the "brutal and corrupt Iranian regime".

To understand the frustrations driving the young, working-class Iranians who began the protests, I recommend reading Shahram Khosravi's "Precarious Lives: Waiting and Hope in Iran", published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Let there be no doubt the US stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families and dignity for their nation. The administration's dismissal 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 a legitimate nuclear weapons capability down the road, as well as billions of dollars.

Protests over economic problems broke out in Iran's second city Mashhad last week and quickly spread across the country, turning against the regime as a whole.

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken it upon himself to amplify his already harsh criticism of the government in Tehran, using the aforementioned protests as fuel in his fire. "The watching!"

The Revolutionary Guard and its affiliated Basij militia suppressed unrest in 2009, in which dozens of pro-reform Iranians were killed. It has used the ensuing decades to turn the clock back by several centuries.

Which makes it all the more hard to understand Ottawa's timid silence in the midst of the widespread and courageous outbreaks of protest currently under way throughout Iran. The government is split, with President Hassan Rouhani expressing sympathy with the protesters and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei hoping to crush dissent.

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"The Iranian regime is now on notice".

The experts said the absence of steps to address the underlying causes of the protests through non-violent means was "disturbing".

A total of 21 people died in five days of unrest that began on December 28.

Iranian UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo also accused the United States of "bullying" and "abusing" its power to summon a meeting of the Security Council on a matter he said was "outside the scope of its mandate". "The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights".

There were no reports of fresh protests in Tehran on Wednesday, amid a heavy police presence. On Friday, however, streets were calm ahead of the pro-government demonstrations.

So what should America do, or not do, to support the protests - or at least, to help avert a bloody crackdown? The officials have announced over 1,800 arrests so far but the real figure is feared to reach several thousand.

On January 6, state TV showed hundreds of government supporters waving Iranian flags and chanting anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli slogans in cities such as Amol in the north. This poses a direct threat to Israel, and indirectly to Saudi Arabia and the U.S. -backed Sunni coalition. They reported virtually nothing about the much bigger demonstrations in 2009, but they gave front-page exposure to the current protests on the first day of the demos. He called on the Iranian government to set up a process to address any serious human rights violations and hold accountable anyone involved. Some demonstrators have called for the government's overthrow. Cries of "Death to Rouhani", and "Clerics Must Go" along with chants of "Leave Syria, start thinking about us", as well as, "Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, my life for Iran", are heard. He added the Iranian people were united by anti-American feelings.

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the Guards would be deployed to the sprawling Islamic Republic's Hamadan, Isfahan and Lorestan regions, where most of the week's deaths had occurred.

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