Former US President Barack Obama has admitted that he made "a mistake" by not supporting the Iranian people's 2009 Green Movement against the Islamic Republic.
Speaking during a podcast on Friday, he described the lack of public support for the 2009 protests as a missed opportunity to back the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, saying, "In retrospect, I think that was a mistake. Every time we see a flash, a glimmer of hope, of people longing for freedom, I think we have to point it out. We have to shine a spotlight on it. We have to express some solidarity about it.”
“There is deep dissatisfaction with the Iranian regime,” he said, adding that women in particular are chafing under a series of arbitrary and cruel discrimination exercised by the state in addition to the systematic subjugation of women, which has made them fed up and tired of the regime.
Obama said that whether the current uprising – ignited by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini – “ends up bringing about fundamental change in the regime is hard to predict.”
He explained that back in 2009 and 2010, “there was a big debate inside the White House about whether I should publicly affirm what was going on with the Green Movement because a lot of the activists were being accused of being tools of the West, and there was some thought that we were somehow going to be undermining their street cred in Iran if I supported what they were doing.”
Obama noted that “our moral response to the incredible courage that is taking place in Iran and those women and girls who are on the streets knowing that they’re putting themselves in harm’s way to speak truth to power” is “to affirm what they do and hope that it brings about more space for the kind of civic conversation that over time can take that country down a better path.”