President Joe Biden recently appeared to break with the US position of not calling for regime change in Iran when he said, “We will liberate Iran.”
His remarks at a hearing in Los Angeles last Thursday were soon qualified by John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, who noted that Biden was “expressing, once again, our solidarity.” with the Iranian protesters and not outlining a new approach.
Since the protests began in Iran shortly after the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the country’s moral police on September 13 for not wearing the hijab, more than 300 deaths have been reported.
A new report from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) called on Biden to strengthen his support for the Iranian people.
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“President Biden’s apparent support for regime change in Iran is welcome. But he can go further to support the Iranian people,” wrote Tzvi Kahn, a researcher at FDD.
Kahn believes the US’s reluctance to call for regime change lies in the Biden administration’s hopes to revive Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with the country.
“America and its allies have issued increasingly loud statements criticizing Iran’s human rights violations, downplaying their previous emphasis on relaunching the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ( JCPOA), “he wrote. Re-entry into the deal would mean billions of dollars in sanctions for Iran.
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The White House has gradually shown support for the protesters. Two weeks after the demonstrations began, he finally released a statement in early October: “For decades, the Iranian regime has denied basic freedoms to its people and suppressed the aspirations of succeeding generations through intimidation, coercion and violence. The United States is on the side of Iranian women and all citizens of Iran who are inspiring the world with their courage. “
The State Department was quicker to condemn the regime in Iran as Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement on September 22 to announce sanctions against senior Iranian officials and express support for protesters.
Lisa Daftari, chief editor of the Foreign Desk, hopes Biden’s most recent comments are indicative of a change coming to Washington.
“Thanks to nearly two months of courageous persistence on the part of Iranian protesters against the brutal regime in Iran, the Biden administration is beginning to show that it understands the gravity of this movement,” Daftari told Fox News Digital on Tuesday.
Daftari, who has followed the protests from the start, continued: “Either emotionally, through gripping and heartbreaking videos and footage of street protests, or through significant political pressure exerted on the White House and lawmakers to move away from. the JCPOA and to support the Iranian people instead of appeasing the mullahs, there appears to have been some pivot in Washington, DC “
On October 26, the US Treasury Department announced a new round of sanctions “against Iranian officials who oversee organizations involved in violent repression and murder, including children, as part of our commitment to retain all levels of government. Iranian responsible for its repression. “
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“The White House should explicitly revoke its offer to lift sanctions on Iran,” Kahn said. “Washington must not provide an economic lifeline to a regime that continues to slaughter its own people.”
In an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on October 13, US special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, insisted that the ability to re-enter the JCPOA was not affecting US support for protesters.
“I think people need to understand that they weren’t tying our hands because of … this hope that someday maybe there will be an agreement … We are taking action. We are not waiting. We are taking the action that we think is consistent and necessary to promote our values and our national security interests. “
Malley faced backlash over a tweet he sent in October saying protesters were demonstrating “why their government respected their dignity and human rights.” Activists stressed that the demonstrations were actually about regime change and not a call to action for the current regime in Iran. Malley acknowledged that her tweet was misleading, telling Iran International News that her post was “misspelled”.
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Kahn noted that the White House was not clear enough on resuming JCPOA negotiations if the protests subsided.
“To eliminate this ambiguity, President Biden should refuse further talks and adopt a policy of maximum pressure on Iran,” he said.
Following Biden’s remarks last week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reacted by saying: “A few hours ago, I was informed that the President of America, absently [said], “We will soon liberate Iran.” We were freed 43 years ago, “Raisi said in a televised speech on Friday.” America aims to destroy our national unity and coherence. “