The protests currently ongoing in Iran are not even a week old yet, and we're already seeing a handful of horrible takes coming from the American left (including, but not limited to former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes). However, the one that really takes the hyperbolic cake is equating the Iranian protests to the Women's March and the resistance against President Donald Trump's administration.
That's essentially the conclusion that was drawn by Alex Mohajer, a political commentator for HuffPost, when analyzing the recent protests that have spread throughout Iran. Both hard-liners and reformers in Iran began protesting the government over rising food and gas prices in addition to their declining economy that has yielded high unemployment in spite of lifted sanctions over 2015's Iran nuclear deal.
Here's what Mohajer tweeted on Saturday.
The #IranianProtests, the #Resistance, and @WomensMarch are all the same. Across the world, people are fighting autocracies and oppressive regimes. @realDonaldTrump is NO DIFFERENT than the oppressive Ayatollahs in Iran. Here's my case, for HuffPost: https://t.co/sYVi12BWdU— Alex Mohajer (@AlexMohajer) December 30, 2017
Of course, I'll give Mohajer the benefit of the doubt that you can't really package a well-rounded thesis into a 280-character tweet. Nevertheless, saying that President Trump is "no different" from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or even his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was the face of the Iranian revolution in 1979, is simply too absurd even to argue against.
Mojaher included a link on his tweet to his March 2017 HuffPost article drawing parallels between the Women's March and the "Iranian Women’s Uprising," where more than 100,000 women protested in the streets against the government's mandatory dress code (i.e. wearing the hijab) for women shortly after the revolution had ended. In both his article and tweet, Mojaher attempted to paint the Trump administration as being as oppressive toward women as the Iranian regime.
Here's the problem with his sweeping generalization: It's not. It's not even close.
Trump has been in office for almost a year, and he's not forcing women to wear the outfit from The Handmaid's Tale. He's not even mandating that women wear a particular garment or clothing. He never has and I doubt he ever will.
Vice President Mike Pence might have his own rules with how he personally deals with women in the workplace, but he's not forcing Americans to live by any particular standard. Women in America have more freedom today than ever before to live their lives the way they want without any government intrusion. Women in Iran don't have that luxury.
Additionally, millions of Americans have protested Trump, both as president-elect and as president, in the last 14 months. No one has died as a result of security crackdowns. People can use social media to organize where and when to gather without fear of retaliation.
In Iran, you cannot say the same. Before Monday, 12 people had died after security forces opened fire on protesters in Iran. Nine more died in overnight clashes on Monday night. The Iranian government has shut down the use of social media in the country to maintain control over its population. And women are being arrested for taking off their hijabs in protest. It wasn't until this past Friday that at least police in Tehran said they'll no longer arrest women for taking off their hijabs.
President Trump may have a loose relationship with the Constitution, but women (and people, in general) in the United States have it far better off than anyone in Iran right now (or in the past 40 years). Stop making everything about Trump. It's sad, desperate, and undermines your credibility at those times when your criticism of the president is appropriate and legitimate.