Staff writer, SF
The Trump administration’s intelligence chief, CIA director Mike Pompeo, told Fox News on Sunday, “It’s my expectation these protests are not behind us,” said Pompeo.
While he believes that the world has not seen the last of the anti-regime protests that have swept Iran in recent weeks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) declared over the past weekend that the protests have been “defeated.”
Still, Pompeo claims that, “[This] is a theocratic regime that is looking backwards, instead of a regime that is looking forward to make the lives of their people better.” He adds, “It is my full expectation that you will see the Iranian people continue to revolt against this.”
Spontaneously beginning in late December in the holy city of Mashhad, the demonstrations continued to break out in more than 80 cities and have resulted in the death of at least 21 people, as well as the arrest of hundreds.
According to Pompeo, the protests are still occurring “at a low level.”
Iranian authorities have used their security forces to try and quell the protesters, and have placed restrictions on social media in an effort to quash them.
The protests represent a rejection of the “backwards-looking,” adventurist theocracy reigning in Tehran, and are fueled by economic grievances said Pompeo, who added that, “The economic conditions in Iran are not good. That’s what caused the people to take to the streets.” While the state of the Iranian economy may have lit the flame, the fuel of their fires lies in the peoples’ dissatisfaction with the regime. Pompeo addresses this, when he remarks, “Meanwhile, the Iranian regime threatens violence. Qassem Soleimani wastes their money in places like Lebanon and Syria and Yemen trying to foment goodness knows what.”
He has also rejected an accusation from Iran’s prosecutor general that a CIA official masterminded the protests with the help of Saudi Arabia and Israel. “This was the Iranian people. Started by them, created by them, continued by them, demanding a better set of living conditions and a break from the theocratic regime,” he said.
It has been reported that the Trump administration has threatened to punish those using violence and censorship in the crackdown against protesters. A State Department spokeswoman said on Thursday, “We have ample authorities to hold accountable those who commit violence against protesters, contribute to censorship, or steal from the people of Iran. To the regime’s victims, we say: You will not be forgotten.”
Trump tweeted his support for the demonstrators Wednesday, writing that he has “such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government.” His tweet continued, “You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!”