Several top advisers to former President Barack Obama think the current administration ought to stop publicly supporting the protests in Iran.
In recent days, President Donald Trump has voiced his support for the protests, issuing a series of tweets encouraging the Iranian regime to respect its citizens’ freedom of expression.
But in a New York Times op-ed published Saturday, Philip Gordon — a former special assistant to the president who served as the White House coordinator for the Middle East during the Obama administration — had strong words for Trump.
Gordon claimed Trump would “love to announce” that his “tough approach” toward the Iranian regime has succeeded, while Obama’s “more conciliatory approach failed.”
Noting that like Trump, he is no fan of the current Iranian regime, Gordon offered Trump “some unsolicited advice: Keep quiet and do nothing.”
Gordon reasoned that there is uncertainty surrounding the Iranian protests, and that “high-profile public support” from the U.S. “will do more harm than good.”
He specifically cited Trump’s travel ban — which affects Iranian citizens — as well as the president’s supposed opposition to providing economic relief to Iran, his strong rhetoric against the Obama administration-brokered nuclear deal and his move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
These policies, Gordon wrote, are “giving Iranians reasons to unite against him.”
At least two other high-level Obama-era officials — former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former special assistant to the president Rob Malley — seemed to agree with Gordon’s sentiments.
Each of them tweeted out Gordon’s op-ed, with Malley calling it a “strong piece.”
As noted by Breitbart, the Obama administration refused to support the 2009 “Green Revolution” in Iran. This policy has been criticized, with some saying Obama actually helped the Iranian regime get stronger.
“Obama was more concerned with preserving the possibility of an eventual deal on Iran’s nuclear program than he was in removing the Iranian regime as a strategic threat or in standing up for human rights,” Breitbart reported.
Years later, other former Obama officials are continuing to argue that the U.S. should not get involved in the Iranian protests.
Others have used the protests to outright criticize Trump’s policies.
The president himself, meanwhile, has not backed down from his strong rhetoric.
“Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching!
Moreover, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration is ready to implement additional sanctions on the Iranian regime if it uses force to silence the protesters.
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