In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you.
There is no truth to any part of this message. If the U.S. were listening to what Iranians want and believe, it would not have reneged on the nuclear deal, reimposed sanctions, banned Iranians from coming to the U.S., and set out to destabilize their country. The administration is doing all of these things over the objections of most Iranians, and yet the president and his allies have the gall to pretend to be on their side. If the U.S. supported the Iranian people, it wouldn’t be actively working to impoverish and harm them. The U.S. has demonstrated repeatedly in just the last eighteen months that it is against the people of Iran, and the administration has shown that it holds them in contempt. A more accurate summary of the relationship between the U.S. and the people of Iran would be: the United States ignores you; the United States insults and injures you; the United States is against you. The people don’t welcome U.S. interference in Iran’s internal affairs, and there is no illusion there that this interference is being done for their benefit. The administration pays lip service to the grievances of Iranians while doing its utmost to worsen conditions and tighten the regime’s control.
As Barbara Slavin points out today, the recent worsening of economic conditions in Iran is tied to Trump’s opposition to the nuclear deal and the decsion to renege on the JCPOA:
But US policies are likely to bolster the most repressive elements of the Iranian regime – who have access to hard currency – and inflict the most suffering on ordinary people about whom the Trump administration purports to care. Pompeo asserted that it was the Iranian government’s mismanagement that has led the Iranian currency to lose much of its value. In fact, the rial has plummeted since Donald Trump was elected because of his threats to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which he finally did on May 8.
Most Iranians supported the nuclear deal in part because they hoped that it would bring an end to international pressure and allow their country to resume normal trading relationships with others. That is, they very much hoped that the deal would allow Iran to become a more “normal” country again. For all of the administration’s dishonest rhetoric about wanting Iran to be a “normal” country, the president and his advisers have been bent on trying to keep Iran as isolated as possible. Like other opponents of the nuclear deal, they hate the agreement because it removes an excuse for punishing and isolating Iran, and they want to kill the deal because they have no desire for Iran to be normal and prosperous. When Trump administration officials claim to support the Iranian people, it is an obvious lie and should be described as such.