Nahal Toosi reports on the Trump administration’s attempt to gain support from Iranian-Americans for its hostile policy towards Iran:
The travel ban in particular has galled Iranian-Americans. The ban covers a handful of mainly Muslim countries, but Iranians are the largest group affected. Trump says the ban is an anti-terrorism measure, but it has had the effect of keeping out of the U.S. numerous ordinary Iranians, including some who’d hoped to go to college in America or simply visit relatives.
Opponents of the travel ban say it is a cruel, bigoted and hypocritical policy by an administration that insists it cares about the people of Iran.
“If the administration really cared about the human rights of Iranians, it would lift the travel ban,” said one Iranian-American who plans to attend Pompeo’s speech but asked not to be identified by name.
The Trump administration has already shown Iranians and Iranian-Americans that they hold them in contempt, and it is difficult to win over people that you have just arbitrarily labeled as a threat to national security. As Jason Rezaian wrote last month following the Trump v. Hawaii ruling, “The travel ban is merely the latest confirmation of a grim realization: We aren’t wanted here.” Beyond being cruel and unnecessary, the travel ban is an insult to Iranian-American citizens and their families, and it has understandably been received as such. It isn’t credible to spit in the faces of an entire nation and then claim that you are their friend and ally, but that is what Secretary Pompeo will try to do next week.
Iran hawks frequently claim that they are on the side of the Iranian people, but every policy they support shows this to be untrue. They support collective punishment of the entire population for the actions of the regime. While they endorse policies that seek to impoverish and strangle the country economically, they feign concern for the people’s welfare. The U.S. cannot wage economic warfare against Iran without harming the people and making their lives more difficult. The pretense that the administration is hostile only to the regime is proven false by their own actions.
Most Iranian-Americans don’t support Trump’s Iran policy, because unlike him they do not hate and fear the country and its people. There is scant support for regime change in Iran or the diaspora, and consequently the most vocal advocates of regime change have little or no support inside Iran or in the community here.