US hails Iranian women
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – “It is remarkable what we’re seeing on the streets of Iran,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told journalists on Tuesday, as Iranian protests entered their fourth week.
“It is especially remarkable to note” this point “on the International Day of the Girl,” he added.
Price was fulsome in his praise for the Iranian protests, triggered by the Sept. 16 death of a young Kurdish woman in police custody, Mahsa (Jina) Amini, who was detained while visiting Tehran for not properly wearing a head scarf.
“What the women and girls of Iran are doing and have been doing over the course of weeks now is remarkable,” he continued. “It is a testament to the animating power of universal rights” which “belong as much to them as they do to us in this country or to people around the world.”
Deeds Match Words?
Despite Price’s high praise for Iranian women pursuing their “universal rights,” US action in support of them, it appears, is limited and will, apparently, remain so.
Pressed as to what type of backing the Iranian protestors might expect from Washington, Price essentially said that it would be along the lines of the support that the US has already provided: some assistance with cyber issues to help them get around the regime’s efforts to cut off internet access, as well pressure on the regime in the form of sanctions, including sanctions that target individuals responsible for human rights abuses.
Will that make a significant difference? One frustrated journalist, sympathetic to the protestors, complained, “Sanctioning officials is not going to help them.”
Nonetheless, Price affirmed, “What started as a movement in response to the death of Mahsa Amini has clearly taken on broader significance to the people of Iran” and “the United States stands with them.”
“We are going to continue to do what we can to hold accountable those who are responsible for the violence, for the brutality, for the repression, for the efforts to stifle their voices,”Price concluded, and “our attention to this is not going to wane.”
Broadening US Policy Beyond Just Renewing the JCPOA?
“The unrest is now considered the most serious challenge to the Islamic Republic since its inception in 1979,” the BBC reported on Wednesday.
It remains to be seen what impact the protests will have on Iran and the region more broadly. But they may also influence US policy and cause the Biden administration to broaden its focus beyond merely renewing the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.)
“Biden has been accused by critics,” the Washington Post wrote on Tuesday, of “prioritizing negotiating a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.” However, “the [Iranian] protests may pose a test to that approach.”