Former President Barack Obama admitted Friday that it had been a “mistake” not to support Iranian democracy protesters in 2009, when they rose up against their tyrannical regime in what was called the “Green Revolution.”
At the time, Obama chose to remain quiet about the protests, as he hoped to preserve the regime, and the administration of radical, Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the hope of pursuing negotiations toward a deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
[W]hen I think back to 2009, 2010, you, you guys will recall there was a, a big debate inside the White House about whether I should publicly affirm what was going on with the [G]reen movement because a lot of the activists were being accused of being tools of the West, nd there was some thought that we were somehow gonna be undermining their street cred in Iran if I supported what they were doing. And in retrospect, I think that was a mistake.
Every, every time we see a flash, a a glimmer of, of hope of, 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. That doesn’t mean by the way that the administration is that, that a a US administration shouldn’t be taking in a bunch of other equities into account. They have to, a president has to, Right.
The Obama administration belatedly supported the protests, with the State Department, then led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, providing technical support to activists after the Iranian regime shut down access to Twitter. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize that year, finally spoke out against the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, a young Iranian woman whose shooting death during anti-regime demonstrations was documented on a viral video.
The Obama administration argued that it would be counterproductive to support the protests, because doing so would allow the regime to cast them as a result of American intervention (as it did anyway, and has done in the “Women’s Revolution” today.) Critics noted that the administration lost an opportunity to topple the Iranian regime, and likely end the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, without firing a shot.
Obama struck a nuclear deal in 2015 that would allow Iran to emerge as a nuclear power within a decade.
Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. withdrew from the Iran deal, and spoke out forcefully in favor of Iranian demonstrators.
Obama told Pod Save America he was still proud of the Iran deal, which gave billions to the regime and relieved it from sanctions.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.