Former President Barack Obama admitted this week during a podcast that he made a mistake by not encouraging the 2009 Green Movement in Iran more during the time he was president.
“In retrospect, I think that was a mistake. Every time we see a flash, a glimmer of hope, of people longing for freedom, I think we have to point it out. We have to shine a spotlight on it. We have to express some solidarity about it,” he said.
Former US President @BarackObama has admitted that he made “a mistake” by not supporting the Iranian people’s 2009 Green Movement against the Islamic Republic. “In a retrospect, I think that was a mistake. Every time we see a glimmer of hope, we have to express solidarity.” pic.twitter.com/J7sWtkrCOh
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) October 15, 2022
He suggested that he hadn’t shown more support for the movement by the Iranian people because he didn’t want the people to be accused of being “tools of the West.”
“There was a big debate inside the White House about whether I should publicly affirm what was going on with the Green Movement because a lot of the activists were being accused of being tools of the West, and there was some thought that we were somehow going to be undermining their street cred in Iran if I supported what they were doing,” he said.
Still, more Western support could have helped the movement grow strong enough to overthrow the Ayatollahs and turn Iran into a different kind of government with more freedom.
He said that he hopes Western support could help even now as there are still some activists in Iran fighting for freedom.
“Our moral response to the incredible courage that is taking place in Iran and those women and girls who are on the streets knowing that they’re putting themselves in harm’s way to speak truth to power” is “to affirm what they do and hope that it brings about more space for the kind of civic conversation that over time can take that country down a better path,” he said.
People in Iran have been protesting for a month now, ever since a 22-year-old woman was brutally killed by Iranian morality police after being arrested for wearing her hijab improperly.
The incident has been compared to the killing of George Floyd in police custody in America, and even crackdowns on protesters that have killed at least 233 people, including 32 children, have not dampened Iranians’ fervor or resolve.
A prison fire in a facility that housed wrongly detained American citizens and others from European nations has led to the possibility of sanctions by the European Union, which would join America and other nations that have long sanctioned the brutal regime.
“We are following reports from Evin Prison with urgency,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted. “Iran is fully responsible for the safety of our wrongfully detained citizens, who should be released immediately.”