As of Tuesday, January 2, the death toll of the anti-government clashes with law enforcement in Iran has reached 21 souls, and at least 450 have been arrested since last week. The stated grievances of the protesters are varied and broad, encompassing economic concerns, as well as civic concerns over perceived corruption.
All in all, it resembles the beginnings of the Syrian civil war back in 2011, with protests quickly turning into riots that are at least nominally supported by the majority of Western governments, as well as media.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Spoke on Tuesday for the first time since the eruption of the popular discontent, blaming “enemies” of Iran for the unrest. These “enemies” are largely understood to refer to Israel and the United States, much as Assad often pointed to the US’ financial support of the rebels in Syria.
Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2017
President Trump has been regularly tweeting out quasi support for the protests and their message over the past few days.
Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
While some of his supporters have criticized this activity, many are still wary of hawkish foreign policy moves, ever since the bombing of the Syrian airbase in Spring of 2017. Trump ran as a non-interventionist, and his supporters have trusted him to fulfill that promise. Many feel that financial and military support to foreign regime change would be a betrayal of a key element of his platform.
The developments in Iran will be incredibly important going forward. Just as with Syria, the reactions to each event will separate those who are looking out for America First from those whose interests align with Globalism.