Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis has recently given a statement in support of the Iranian protests currently taking place, insisting that America’s heart is with the people, rather than the regime.
“I think it’s very important that we stand up and say that we understand the Iranian people,” Mattis said.
“Our beef, if we have one, is not with the Iranian people,” he added. “It is specifically the same regime that the Iranian people, clearly, are fed up with as well.”
As reported by Breitbart News, protests have increased in Iran, leading to at least 20 deaths thus far and thousands of arrests.
Citizens taking part in the protest have also been chanting “Death to Rouhani” and “Death to the dictator,” referring to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The current administration recently declared that it would wave sanctions — per the Iran nuclear deal — but warned that, if it was not strengthened within the next couple months, it would be scrapped by the US altogether.
Officials close to President Donald Trump stated that he accepted the recommendation of his advisers to keep old nuclear-related sanctions suspended, though they would target Iran’s behavior towards its people such as mass arrests during anti-government protests.
And senior administration officials announced Friday that it was “the last such waiver,” adding that there will be even more sanctions against 14 Iranian individuals and entities for matters that are unrelated to the nuclear deal.
Trump’s other option for avoiding the deal, suggests Breitbart, would be to withhold the sanctions waiver he usually grants under the JCPOA legislation — an act that may prompt Tehran to declare the deal void.
Yet, numerous individuals have also pressured the American president to keep the deal, insisting there is no better alternative that has slowed Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“The deal is working; it is delivering on its main goal, which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check and under close surveillance,” said Federica Mogherini, a High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs.
Others argue that removing the deal completely might kick Iran from the oil market entirely, effectively disrupting oil exports to Asia and Europe and raising prices by at least $5 per barrel.
Yet, even without the fear of a growing nuclear program in Iran, the regime has been called out and criticized for the way in which it treats its own people — often flagrantly supporting terrorism and conducting acts on par with human rights violations.
And many of the Iranian people don’t seem to be done fighting against these violations anytime soon, though Mattis emphasized that it will be up to the people in instituting their next form of government.
“So the most important thing, I think, is it’s up to the Iranian people what form of government they have,” Mattis said. “And to say we believe that they should have the kind of government they want.”
“Clearly the Iranian people aren’t buying this revolution or export of their terrorism, or whatever the revolutionary regime people want to call it,” said Mattis.
“They’re not buying it there at home,” he continued. “We’re not buying it internationally.”
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