‘Be quiet’: Team Obama offers foreign policy advice to the White house, fails to back Iran protesters

by WorldTribune Staff, January 2, 2018

Advisers who were on board when President Barack Obama failed to back the “Green Revolution” protests in Iran in 2009 are criticizing President Donald Trump for supporting current anti-government demonstrations in the Islamic Republic.

Susan Rice and President Barack Obama. / Pete Souza / The White House via Getty Images

Trump tweeted on Dec. 29: “Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching!”

Former national security adviser Susan Rice tweeted a New York Times op-ed by former Obama aide Philip Gordon, “How Can Trump Help Iran’s Protesters? Be Quiet”.

Rice and other former Obama aides have offered no public statement in support of the demonstrators.

Gordon “argues that supporting the protests, and taking steps to end the Iran nuclear deal, will only help the regime to delegitimize its internal opponents,” Joel Pollack, senior editor-at-large for Breitbart, wrote on Jan. 1.

Tommy Vietor, a former spokesman for the National Security Council, used the protests to take a shot at the president: “Trump loves protestors as long as they’re not American.”

Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power saw an opportunity to criticize Trump’s immigration policy: “We stand with the Iranian people so much that we won’t let them come here.”

In 2009, Obama said that “we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.”

Pollack noted: “That weak response, and the administration’s general lack of support for the demonstrators, allowed the regime to consolidate power.

“Obama was more concerned with preserving the possibility of an eventual deal on Iran’s nuclear program than he was in removing the Iranian regime as a strategic threat or in standing up for human rights. Critics charge that Obama missed a golden opportunity.”

In his 2014 book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War”, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that although he had been persuaded at the time “that too powerful an American voice on behalf of the protesters might provide ammunition for the regime,” he later regretted it: “In retrospect, I think we could and should have done more, at least rhetorically.”


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