Iran engulfed by an ongoing wave of mass protests, US President
Donald Trump has jumped at the opportunity to say that Iran needs
“change.” But the US leader is failing to grasp the true nature
of protests, analysts told RT.
days before the New Year, Trump went on a Twitter spree, demonizing
Iran and at the same time calling on the country to “respect
the people’s rights.” He
warned that “oppressive
that the US“is
watching very closely for human rights violations” in
an apparent attempt to express his support for the protesters. His
comments, which came amid mass protests that have swept the Islamic
Republic since December 28, provoked angry reaction in Tehran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the US has no moral right to
act as if defending the rights of Iranians because Washington itself
calls them terrorists.
sentiments are likely to be shared by most Iranians, analysts told
RT. They added that everything Trump says now is irrelevant due to
his previous statements, as well as Washington’s general attitude
towards the Islamic Republic.
Iranian public, including those protesting in the streets, see the US
and Trump personally in a very negative light, and don't believe
Washington would truly defend their interests, Ahmed Al-Burai, a
lecturer at Aydin University in Istanbul, said.
explained that the Iranians distrust Trump because of his
administration's stance on the 2015 international agreement on the
Iranian nuclear program. Trump repeatedly called it a “terrible
even refused to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement in
October 2016, deferring the matter to Congress instead.
is also “not
the eyes of Iranians as a result of US policies in the Middle East,
which have already caused war and devastation in Iraq, as well as
destabilizing neighboring Syria. Any kind of interference by the
American administration, even in the form of tweets, “is
not welcome in the whole region, [particularly] in Iran, [both] among
the politicians and the people on the [streets] because they have
already experienced what the US has had [in store] for the Middle
key factor precluding Trump from influencing the public mood in Iran
to any significant extent is Washington’s close ties with Saudi
Arabia and Israel. Riyadh was, in fact, the destination for the
current US president’s first foreign trip in May 2017, during which
he sealed a mammoth arms deal with the Kingdom worth $350 billion
over 10 years, with some $110 billion to take effect immediately.
has made his support for Israel clear by recognizing Jerusalem as the
state’s capital. The move provoked outrage throughout the Muslim
world, and even Washington's closest allies hesitated to support it.
understand that the US is not interested in any long-term development
projects for Iran or even in “empowering
any political opposition on the ground,” Al-Burai
said. Instead, Washington is pursuing its own interests as well as
those of its regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, which means
that any US move would eventually be harmful for the Islamic
words were echoed by Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, a political analyst
who told RT that “what
they [the US] are looking for is delegitimizing the Iranian policies,
the Iranian establishment as well as [its] military build-up in the
region, including presence in Syria and Iraq… in order to impose
further sanctions on [Tehran].” All
of the statements that Washington is making supposedly in support of
the protesters are, in fact, aimed at “politicizing
Iran and “delegitimizing
the Iranian policies on the international scene in favor of the
the US goal remains the same: it seeks to gain concessions from
Tehran over its nuclear and missile programs to undermine its power,
as well as to diminish its influence in the region, Khoshcheshm
protest's nature eludes Trump, while Pence vows to 'not let Iranians
his attempt to exploit the situation in the Islamic Republic, the US
president ultimately fails to understand the true nature of the
protests, or to see the forces that could be behind them, the
US knows that it cannot topple the Iranian government with protests
that are incomparably smaller than the riots that engulfed Iran
following the 2009 presidential elections, Khoshcheshm said. He added
that western media outlets – and even Trump himself – “are
trying hard… to politicize” and
exaggerate the issue.
Al-Burai explained that the Iranian protests are in fact economic
rather than political in nature. “The
middle class, who took to the streets, are asking for more economic
reforms, asking for more jobs and employment, [for] better standards
of living,” he
said, adding that the demonstrators are essentially not interested in
any escalation or political unrest that Trump hopes so much to see in
also pointed out that the political force behind the protests could
be far from what the US president expects. In his tweets, Trump
repeatedly said that Iranians “are
fed up with corruption” and
for freedom,” which
would imply a sort of western-style freedom.
it may actually turn out that the protests are driven by Iran’s
hardliners and Islamic conservatives, who are challenging the
presidency of Rouhani, who is considered a “moderate” politician
in the Islamic Republic.
Iranian city of Mashhad is one of the places where the protests
initially started. Al-Burai explained that it is actually
of Rouhani’s major competitor” at
the last presidential elections, Ebrahim Raisi. Raisi is the
son-in-law of the Mashhad Friday prayer leader and Grand Imam of Imam
Reza shrine, Ahmad Alamolhoda.
politician also enjoys the support of the Iranian conservative
circles. He advocates gender segregation and even sees sanctions
imposed against Iran as a sort of opportunity. Notably, fighting
corruption and creating jobs were his major election promises during
the last presidential campaign.
the meantime, the US seems to pay no attention to the real situation
on the ground. On Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence promised full
support to the Iranian protesters by saying, “We
must not and we will not let them down.”