On July 22nd, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed a crowd of Iranian Americans in Simi Valley, California at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The speech Pompeo delivered was titled, “Supporting Iranian Voices”, which was followed by a Q&A session of previously vetted questions.
Secretary Pompeo’s alleged support for the Iranian people is incongruent with the Administration’s hawkish policy approach to Iran. Instead of supporting multilateral agreements, like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted many economic sanctions and financial burdens off of the Iranian people, the Trump Administration exited the deal and reinstated crippling sanctions. This will inevitably harm ordinary Iranian citizens rather than regime elites and hardline politicians. The Trump Administration’s economic warfare tactics not only devalue Iran’s currency, but also exacerbate Iran’s already high youth unemployment rate.
With the imposition of snapback sanctions on Iran, many of the streams of wealth and resources will inevitably become concentrated in the top echelons of the regime such as the Revolutionary Guard and Basij. The brunt of the financial strain on the Iranian economy will be felt by the Iranian middle-class and lower classes. With people uncertain about their financial stability and unable to feed their families, any form of organic social movement for democratic political transition is unlikely to gain momentum in the country. Furthermore, by exiting the JCPOA, the Trump Administration emboldens the hardline faction in Iran who see it in their best interest to continue hostilities with the US rather than reach a diplomatic compromise. The only real victims of this avoidable crisis is the Iranian people, who are having their concerns hijacked by the Trump administration’s foreign policy objectives.
Pompeo’s Iran approach appears to entail co-opting the Iranian people’s genuine grievances centered around social freedoms, human rights, economic prosperity, and resource management to advance an agenda that actually undermines those concerns. Under the guise of ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’, the administration will undertake steps to destabilize the country and push toward Iraq-style regime change. Similar to the Bush Administration’s approach of presenting a few Iraqi exiles to the international community as viable alternatives, Trump and Pompeo are hoping to use Iranian Americans as to legitimize regime change policies. Far from learn from the Iraq war disaster, they are following the playbook to war.
The various iterations of the Muslim Ban introduced by the Trump Administration is yet another example of the utter hypocrisy of Pompeo and Trump claiming to support the Iranian people.
The Trump Administration’s dangerously close ties to the undemocratic extremist cult known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) led by Maryam Rajavi, through officials like National Security Advisor John Bolton and Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, is also cause for concern. Individuals who support former terrorist organizations with the blood of Americans on its hands cannot be responsible for the political transition of a nation of 80 million people to a tolerant and inclusive state that respects human rights. A group that sided with Saddam’s destruction and invasion of Iran is not a viable political alternative that the Iranian people will accept. Equally disturbing, it appears U.S foreign policy and the future of Iran is held hostage by the perceived interests of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who have tremendous sway with the Trump administration.The Trump Administration has seemingly sold its foreign policy agenda to the highest bidder rather than take into consideration the interests and welfare of its citizenry.
The various iterations of the Muslim Ban introduced by the Trump Administration is yet another example of the utter hypocrisy of Pompeo and Trump claiming to support the Iranian people. An administration that denies the entry of an Iranian baby in need of urgent heart surgery and bans the grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts of Iranian Americans is detached from the interests of the Iranian people and the Iranian-American community. Banning Iranian grandparents from visiting their grandchildren solely based on national origin and religion is not only a discriminatory policy, but a major insult to the Iranian-American community and diaspora.
Iranian Americans should see through this charade by the Trump Administration. Snapping back sanctions and undermining opportunities for diplomacy will not magically result in a more open and democratic Iran. In fact, the opposite is true. Secretary Pompeo and his fellow Iran hawks should be closely scrutinized for their words and deeds, and held to account for their efforts to undermine the Iranian people. An administration that sanctions and prohibits the entry of the Iranian people, in addition to aiding extremist cults that betrayed them, is in no position to support Iranian voices.
Added by The Iranian:
“Pompeo says he’s ‘supporting Iranian voices.’ We disagree.”
“We refuse to be pawns in the Trump administration’s plan. That is why we are leading an open sign-on letter against this effort from dozens of prominent members of our community, including Farrokh Negahdar, Mohsen Kadivar, Reza Aslan, Farideh Farhi and Sanam Naraghi.”
Please consider signing NIAC’s open letter and share it with your friends and family: https://www.niacouncil.org/