(UnitedVoice.com) – A wave of anti-government protests broke out across Iran after its government admitted that Iranian forces accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner over the weekend. All 176 people on board were killed, including 82 Iranians.
The incident happened approximately one hour after Iran fired ballistic missiles at jointly-owned American and Iraqi military bases. Those strikes were carried out in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
Initially, Iranian officials blamed the crash on a mechanical malfunction. However, on Saturday, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, apologized for shooting the plane down.
Almost immediately after the admission, vigils to pay respect to those killed in the plane crash quickly turned into anti-government protests.
The Associated Press reported that university student protestors shouted, “They are lying that our enemy is America! Our enemy is right here!” The AP also confirmed protestors were chanting “death to the dictator” and “down with the deceptive government.” Others called for Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to resign.
Not long after the demonstrations began, riot police began breaking up the groups of protesters, using teargas and live rounds to disperse the crowds. A video surfaced on social media of a woman being wounded. The footage also shows pools of blood on the pavement.
Tehran’s police chief denied that officers fired on protestors and said, “Police treated people who had gathered with patience and tolerance. Police did not shoot in the gatherings since broad-mindedness and restraint has been the agenda of the police forces of the capital.”
History does not seem to agree with the police chief. In November 2019, Iran cracked down on street protests. Amnesty International said more than 300 people were killed by riot police in that incident alone.
President Trump Warns Iran
In a show of support for the uprising in Iran, President Trump warned the Iranian government on Twitter saying that he was standing with the Iranian people and that he was “inspired by your courage.”
He also had other harsh words for the regime:
The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2020
Democrats Silent as Iranian Protests Blame Regime, Not Trump
For two weeks, Democrats have lambasted Trump for escalating tensions with Iran. Now, they are largely silent as Iranian protesters express their anger at the regime and not at President Trump.
So far, only Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have expressed their support for the protestors. The rest of the Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls have been silent.
In a Twitter statement, journalist Yashar Ali called out the left:
1. This AM I woke up to dozens of messages from family/friends in Iran
Right now, Iran is a tinderbox internally. As some of you know, there are protests mostly around the anger that Iranians feel towards the gov after they admitted IRGC shot down the Ukraine Airlines aircraft
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 12, 2020
Among Ali’s criticisms:
- The Iranian government lied.
- Iranians say Trump isn’t the problem, the Iranian government is the problem.
- Prominent liberals are not mentioning the protests on Twitter. Instead, they are tweeting about avoiding war and attacking Trump.
- Iranians are being used as a tool by the left to attack Trump
Pelosi Either Uninformed or is Playing Politics
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Sunday morning that, in addition to opposition to the US, there were “different reasons” for the protests. Host George Stephanopoulos informed her the protests were against their own government instead of the United States. Stephanopoulos also said the Iranian protesters were calling for the death of Khamenei.
Pelosi responded, “Well, whatever it is.”
Finally, Pelosi said, “Of course we would love to see the aspirations of the people of Iran realized with a better situation there.”
On Monday Morning, #NANCYPELOSIFAKENEWS was trending on Twitter. Many of the tweets said Pelosi cared more about the Iranian regime than the US or took issue with her characterizations of the protestors.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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