Vice President Pence reaffirmed his support on Wednesday for anti-government protesters in Iran, highlighting the Trump administration’s desire to handle the demonstrations differently than President Obama did in 2009.
“Protesters in Iran should know there’s bipartisan support in America for the freedom-loving people of Iran who continue to fight against their government’s corruption and tyranny,” Pence tweeted Wednesday morning.
As protests against the current regime stretch into their seventh day, the White House has said President Trump and Pence are seriously weighing whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran later this month that were lifted in accordance with the Iran nuclear deal.
Doing so would represent a departure from Obama’s hands-off approach when similar protests unfolded nearly 10 years ago, and harken back to what then-Congressman Pence urged the previous administration to do in response to the situation.
The former House Foreign Affairs Committee member co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution in June 2009 to express “support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law.”
“I appreciate the fact that the president said the protesters have a right to be heard and represented, and I appreciate the fact that he said he is troubled,” Pence said at the time. “But I respectfully disagree with the administration’s decision to essentially draw the line at not meddling and not interfering.”
Though the White House has stopped short of explicitly seeking regime change in Iran, Trump allies have vowed to correct past mistakes and offer greater support for the protesters as they continue to challenge the government over the country’s weak economy.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said Tuesday the administration ought to “encourage the protesters to continue to fight for what’s right,” while U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vowed Trump would not repeat Obama’s “mistake” of failing to forcefully support the protesters in 2009.
Pence made a similar promise earlier this week, declaring that as long as he and Trump remain in office “the United States of America will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people as they fought against their brutal regime.”
“We must not and we will not let them down,” he wrote in a series of tweets on Monday.
An interview with Pence is slated to air in Iran, where the government has shut down Internet access and blocked certain messaging apps, later this week, the vice president announced on Wednesday.
“The message from POTUS and me is clear: Unlike the past, this time America stands with the brave Iranian protesters who are risking their lives for freedom!” Pence tweeted.