Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s May 21 speech outlining the Trump administration’s new policy toward Iran expressed unwavering support for the Iranian people and commended them for rising up against the totalitarian regime.
“The protests of the past few months show that the Iranian people are deeply frustrated with their own government’s failures,” Pompeo said.
Before the speech, he tweeted, “We support the Iranian people who are demonstrating against an oppressive government.”
The speech was also the impetus for a hashtag in Farsi calling for regime change as well as another one which read “thank you Pompeo.” (Hashtags are used to try to make particular social-media posts become viral – be seen by as many people as possible.)
The Iranian people suffered economically before the Iran deal because of worldwide sanctions. When the sanctions were lifted after the deal was made, massive celebrations in the streets were held by the Iranian people, who expected large-scale financial relief.
However, the reality was that the regime poured much of its new-found money into its terrorist enterprises abroad – in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and in support of terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas – while the people continued to suffer under increasingly-harsh economic conditions.
Pompeo’s encouragement seems to have sparked new momentum for anti-regime protests in Iran that began last December. Since May 22, the day after Pompeo’s speech, we have seen:
A strike of truck drivers protesting their low salaries as well as their increasingly added expenses including road taxes and insurance payments. Particularly affected has been the delivery of gasoline, causing a crisis in the country. Truck drivers have refused to obey a court order to return to work. Their protests have been attacked by security forces, who have used tear gas and taser guns on them. Currently the Revolutionary Guards are using their own trucks to deliver gas.
Workers in the national oil company in Kerman (a city in central Iran) joined the truck drivers, striking as well.
Taxi drivers that work through the internet also began a strike against the government due to their low salaries
In Isfahan (also located in central Iran), railroad workers – who haven’t been paid in four months – are striking as well.
Finally, stores in the large bazaars and markets in Tehran closed in protest against the government, citing the reason for the protest as economic stagnation.
Screens in Mashhad’s airport (Iran’s second largest city where the protests began) were hacked by an anti-regime group protesting the government and its foreign terrorist intervention. Instead of the normal messages, the screens asked “How much longer?” and denouncing the regime for “wasting Iranians’ lives and financial resources in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).”