Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

"The president’s tweets in support of the protesters were a good start. Washington should also let loose a tsunami of sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, the linchpin of Iran’s dictatorship. Policy-wise, that would be a good place to start," said Reuel Marc Gerecht (Center for American Progress via Flickr).

"The president’s tweets in support of the protesters were a good start. Washington should also let loose a tsunami of sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, the linchpin of Iran’s dictatorship. Policy-wise, that would be a good place to start," said Reuel Marc Gerecht. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr/cc)

Iran Hawks Embrace Protest Movement But Show Little Concern For Iranian Lives

Their agenda is to align the U.S. with anything likely to destabilize the Iranian government, regardless the human cost.

Eli Clifton

 by The Lobe Log

As the protests across Iran reach the one-week point, Iran hawks are using their echo chamber to claim concern for the wellbeing of Iranian protesters and pushing the Trump administration and policymakers to publicly state their support of the burgeoning protest movement. But these same hawks have a long history of opposing diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program and instead threatening military strikes on Iran. This record belies their stated concern for Iran’s civilian population and raises serious questions about their motivations in embracing the protesters.

A central node in the Iran-hawk echo chamber is the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), whose associates have been quick to call for U.S. support and assistance for the protesters. But according to Former Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East Philip Gordon in The New York Times last week, such calls would “do more harm than good” and threaten to give Iranians reason to unite against the U.S. instead of expressing long-simmering frustrations with their own government and leaders.

FDD’s Reuel Marc Gerecht also took to the pages of the Times on Wednesday, concluding:

The president’s tweets in support of the protesters were a good start. Washington should also let loose a tsunami of sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, the linchpin of Iran’s dictatorship. Policy-wise, that would be a good place to start.

 Contrary to received wisdom, the absolute worst thing that the United States can do for the Iranian people is to stay silent and do nothing.

Gerecht’s concern for the Iranian people was not so obvious in 2006 when he proposedthat “we should make every effort, including repeated military strikes, to thwart the clerics’ quest for [a nuclear weapon].” In 2010 Gerecht quipped that he had “counted up the other day: I’ve written about 25,000 words about bombing Iran. Even my mom thinks I’ve gone too far.”

FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz also expressed solidarity with the Iranian people in a Politicocolumn coauthored by former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro. Dubowitz and Shapiro concluded that “no matter what we say and do, the regime will seek to the blame United States for the protests.” So, among other measures proposed by authors, “officials both current and former should be flooding the airwaves on Persian-language television and radio to express their support for the Iranian people’s human rights and aspirations.”

Like Gerecht, Dubowitz’s supposed concern for the Iranian people has not always been so clear. In 2015 he coauthored a Wall Street Journal oped with Gerecht that appeared to argue that military strikes were the only way to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Moroever, he has a long history of advocating regime change strategies in Iran instead of diplomatic efforts to prevent Iranian nuclear proliferation.

That opposition to the Obama administration’s efforts to constrain Iran’s nuclear program and frequent embrace of military options to destroy Iran’s nuclear program or bring regime change suggests a set of priorities that don’t line up with the domestic political and economic complaints voiced by Iranian protesters. Indeed, FDD’s frequent preference for military threats over diplomacy suggests a fundamental willingness to risk war with Iran to pursue their regime-change goals. Such a policy would undoubtedly put the lives of ordinary Iranians in danger.

Such regime-change enthusiasts are willing to risk undermining the protesters by associating their movement with the U.S. government. Their agenda is to align the U.S. with anything likely to destabilize the Iranian government, regardless the human cost.

An apocalyptic anti-Iran sentiment and lack of concern for the lives of Iranians might trickle down from FDD’s top donors.

Several of FDD’s biggest donors have made their views on Iran well known. Home Depot Founder Bernard Marcus told Fox Business in a 2015 interview, “when you do business with the devil you’re in deep trouble and I think that Iran is the devil” and characterized the JCPOA as a “deadly, deadly treaty.” Marcus contributed $3.25 million to FDD that same year.

Casino billionaire and Trump megadonor Sheldon Adelson contributed at least $1.5 million to FDD by the end of the 2011 tax year and in 2013 told a Yeshiva University audience that U.S. negotiators should launch a nuclear weapon at the Islamic Republic as a negotiating tactic.


© 2019 The Lobe Log
Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He previously reported for the American Independent New Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Median Pay of Top CEOs Hits Record $14.7 Million as Workers Strike Over Starvation Wages

"While most of America struggles to put gas in the tank and pay the grocery bills, price-gouging, excessive-profit-taking CEOs used their captive boards to award themselves record pay," said one expert.

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders: Manchin and Sinema 'Sabotaged' Biden Agenda Because They Lack 'Guts'

"Why don't you have the guts to take on the drug companies and the insurance companies and the fossil fuel industry?" the Vermont senator asked.

Jake Johnson ·


'Still on Track to Win This Primary,' Says John Fetterman After Stroke

"The good news is I’m feeling much better," said Pennsylvania's progressive Lt. Governor, frontrunner in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. "I'm well on my way to a full recovery."

Jon Queally ·


Buffalo Gunman's Racism Directly Tied to Mainstreaming of White Nationalism, Say Critics

"This hateful, white nationalist rhetoric is not just being spread by lone gunmen. It can also be found on cable news and in the rhetoric of politicians today."

Jon Queally ·


'It's a Fight They'll Get': Defenders of Abortion Rights March Nationwide

One speaker at the Ban Off Our Bodies rally in the nation's capital said that Saturday was just "day one of a 'Summer of Rage' where we will be ungovernable. Ungovernable!"

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo