Thomas Erdbrink reports on a Trump administration attempt at propaganda that backfired:
“40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure. The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future,” the president said in the Twitter post. Mr. Trump also posted the message in Persian, using the same image.
When [the photographer] Ms. Moayeri saw the post, she said, something snapped.
“I felt cheated and abused, it causes me great sorrow to see the man who is inflicting so much pain upon me and my compatriots to use my image for his own agenda,” she said. “I did not take this risk to have someone using it to pressure us Iranians even further.”
The episode sums up so much of what is wrong with the Trump administration’s Iran policy and its cynical efforts to exploit the grievances of the Iranian people for their own purposes. The administration used an Iranian photographer’s image to promote their own regime change message after they had imposed cruel and unjust sanctions on the country and banned Iranians from coming to the U.S. The president feigns concern for the same people that his policies are impoverishing and starving, and he tries to hijack the legitimate protests and grievances of Iranians to advance an agenda that aims at causing those same Iranians more hardship and misery.
Ms. Moayeri was understandably incensed by Trump’s abuse of her work:
But she lost her temper when President Trump posted the image on Monday. “His sanctions are devastating our lives. Our money became worthless. People are becoming poor. Because of his travel ban, many Iranians cannot visit their family members in the United States. My father lives there and I can’t go either,” she said. “I just don’t want to be any part of his agenda against Iran.”
Iranians have many complaints against their government, but they aren’t interested in empty statements of support from an American government that has done nothing but inflict punishment and worsen their living conditions. Trump’s attempt to use an image of Iranian protest to promote his bankrupt Iran policy blew up in his face because Iranians don’t want to be associated with a policy that harms their country and their fellow countrymen.