The protests in Iran that followed Tehran’s admission of its role in the downing of the Ukrainian passenger jet were met with an outpouring of support from Washington. But is it about Iranians, or regime change?
US officials and establishment figures certainly spared no effort as they went out of their way to show how much they supposedly admire the ‘courage’ of Iranians who took to the streets to vent their anger at the fact that a Ukrainian passenger jet, with many Iranians on board, was mistakenly shot down by Iran’s military – something Tehran admitted of its own volition before the results of the crash investigation were made public.
However, Washington apparently decided that this tragedy, which took the lives of 176 people, is a good enough reason to remind Iranians – who are already consumed by grief – just how much they are ‘suffering’ at the hands of a supposedly ‘oppressive’ regime that, by sheer coincidence, turns out to be America’s arch-rival in the region.
President Donald Trump spent the last couple of days tweeting compliments to the protesters and warnings to Tehran, both in English and in Farsi. On Sunday he demanded that Tehran “stop the killing of your great Iranian people.” There are no reports of deaths during the protests over the plane downing, even though law enforcement had to deploy tear gas and water cannons against an agitated crowd on several occasions.
Pentagon Chief Mark Esper, meanwhile, hinted at how Washington really views the protests sparked by the downing of the Ukrainian jet. “You can see the Iranian people are standing up and asserting their rights, their aspirations for a better government — a different regime,” he told CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’.
Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton – a notorious American arch-hawk and a big fan of the idea of launching a war against Iran – was much blunter in his words, openly stating that “regime change is in the air” and “the people of Iran can see it.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.