One day after US State Department spokesman Ned Price voiced support for protesters in Iran, another spokesman condemned the use of violence by security forces.
In exclusive comments to Iran International, the spokesman said on Monday, “We are witnessing brave Iranian protestors demand that their government address their concerns amid rising commodity prices and water and electricity shortages.We have also seen deeply disturbing reports of security forces firing on protesters.Again, we condemn the use of violence against peaceful protestors.”
Iranians on social media questioned the Biden Administration’s silence over the protests in recent days but were mostly thankful when Price tweeted on Sunday.
“Brave Iranian protesters are standing up for their rights. The Iranian people have a right to hold their government accountable,” Price wrote.
Protests began in Iran on May 6 as the government drastically raised food prices, leaving tens of millions of Iranians in danger of facing hunger as inflation surpassing 40 percent has depleted their means to buy basic food.
Hundreds of Twitter users reacted positively to the tweet, although some commented that it was a belated reaction to days of protests by many Iranians risking their lives.
The Trump administration was more vocal when it came to backing the demands of Iranians for good governance and human rights. Some tweets by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received overwhelming support by Iranian Americans and others. A tweet against some Iranian officials on January 12, 2021, received more than 42,000 ‘likes’.
The State Department told Iran International on Monday, “We support the human rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and express themselves, without fear of violence and detention by security forces.”
The spokesman also condemned the disruption of internet services in many cities and towns by the government who wants to prevent news reaching the world about the protests and the violence used against unarmed citizens.
“As Secretary Blinken has previously stated, the United States condemns the use of partial or complete government-imposed Internet shutdowns, among other tactics, to prevent the exercise of freedom of expression online and restrict the ability of independent journalists to serve the public,” the State Department said.
In addition to internet disruption, Iran’s government has also jammed satellite television signals beamed to Iran. The Voice of America, Iran International and other broadcasters provide censored news and views in Persian to Iranians, which the government wants to block.
Asked if the US is considering imposing additional sanctions on the Islamic Republic government for its human rights violations, the spokesman said, “As a general practice, we do not preview sanctions.”