Posting support for Iranian protesters on social media is easy for everyone — including President Trump and two-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
The Iranian people, especially the young, are protesting for the freedom and future they deserve. I hope their government responds peacefully and supports their hopes.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 31, 2017
However, writes Bloomberg’s highly respected national security correspondent Eli Lake, “these easy acts of solidarity are self-satisfying. But they do not substitute for policy or strategy. It’s time for the hard part.”
What needs to happen?
“America’s allies with embassies in Tehran and human-rights groups there should begin to compile the names of Iranians arrested, murdered and tortured,” Lake says. “The State Department could help by creating a 24-hour crisis center to coordinate such a list, and to publicize these names in Farsi-language media.”
The next step, Lake says, is documenting this information and then linking directly the treatment of those detainees, along with Iranian dissidents already in prison or under house arrest, to Western diplomacy with Iran.
Here are the other elements of Lake’s plan:
- No Western diplomat should have a meeting with an Iranian counterpart without the fate of the protesters being on the top of the agenda.
- Regime figures like Foreign Minister Javad Zarif should no longer be treated like statesmen in soft-soap interviews in the Western media. Universities should stop offering them platforms.
- Barack Obama should get highly involved. His unique understanding of grassroots activism puts him in an ideal position to lead the Western cause of solidarity.
- Recognize past mistakes. Iranians will be the authors of their liberation. No State Department or CIA program will bring freedom to Iran.