In June of 2009, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran to protest the stolen election by the then Ayatollah-approved dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Dubbed the "Green Movement," desperate protestors braved bullets from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to rally for freedom and change.
Throughout the several months that the demonstrations occurred, there was one voice that was conspicuously absent: the one belonging to the so-called "leader of the free world." Obsessed with his persistent effort to make friends out of the Islamic clerics running Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama largely avoided the uprising, making only passing comments of acknowledgement when awkwardly forced to.
Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.
Solomon reports that Obama ordered the CIA to sever contacts it had with the green movement's supporters. "The Agency has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms," Solomon writes. "But in this case the White House ordered it to stand down."
It was a despicable abandonment of freedom-loving people, a betrayal that left a stain on America's long-established (think Hungary, Serbia, Georgia, Poland) reputation of standing in solidarity with those seeking to escape the clutches of oppression.
Two years ago, when mass demonstrations again hit the Islamic Republic of Iran, Vice President Mike Pence made explicitly clear that a new day had dawned in American foreign policy:
"As long as @RealDonaldTrump is POTUS and I am VP, the United States of America will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people as they fought against their brutal regime."
"The bold and growing resistance of the Iranian people today gives hope and faith to all who struggle for freedom and against tyranny. We must not and we will not let them down," he added.
In recent days we have seen those weren't just idle words or cheap shot political backhands from the new administration. Perhaps more than anything else he has done, President Trump deserves immense credit for reversing this terrible Obama precedent and making it clear to the world that if you are standing for human liberty, America will again stand with you.
Take the President's direct message of support to the Iranian people:
And to Iranian leadership he also had a stern warning:
To ensure the safety of those freedom-loving dissidents, he also called on Iran to allow human rights groups to monitor their unfolding protests:
Let me say this clearly: this is precisely what the President of the United States should be doing, and every American, regardless of his or her politics, should be proud that he's doing it.
Iran boasts a mad, theocratic regime that terrorizes its own people. Making it abundantly clear where the United States stands on such conduct is a morally clarifying act that is both productive and refreshing. Not just for the American conscience, but for the people around the world who look to us for leadership. Brave people like this:
A liberal American journalist born into an Iranian family, Yashar Ali gave an even closer view of the fascinating events unfolding in that country held hostage in this thread:
There is no moral ambiguity in determining who represents the good guys in the current uprising in Iran. People that shoot down civilian airliners, lie about it, then arrest, bludgeon, and shoot citizens who object to it have lost their rightful claims to power. President Trump's vocal and demonstrative support of those who would wrest it from them is perhaps the most admirable and presidential thing he has done to this point.