The United States Friday voiced solidarity with Iranian protesters and sympathy for victims killed by security forces, vowing consequences for Tehran’s abuses.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted about Kian Pirfalak, a nine-year-old boy shot dead when security forces opened fire at his family car in the street earlier this week.
“My thoughts are with Kian’s family,” he wrote and added, “At only 9 years old, Kian was killed after Iranian security forces sprayed his family car with bullets. We will continue to pursue accountability for the senseless death of Kian and so many other courageous Iranians.”
A Twitter user replied to Sullivan that these security forces belong to the Islamic Republic and are not Iranian. Hundreds of other comments demanded more action than words from the United States, some saying that Tehran’s rulers should be further isolated, and others demanded a formal end to nuclear negotiations.
State Department deputy spokesperson Vendant Patel on Friday also spoke about the protests in a briefing to reporters, highlighting that demonstrations this week are in memory of hundreds of people who were killed by government forces in November 2019 in similar circumstances.
“Even today, family members of November 2019 protestors are being arrested, detained, and intimidated for publicly demanding justice for their deceased relatives. The United States remembers the “Bloody November” and we mourn the loss of Iran’s innocent peaceful protestors,” Patel said. He went on to say that the Islamic Republic disregards the lives of its citizens, especially women.
“Iranian authorities aim to stop dissent and stop the world from watching its brutal crackdown and to prevent the world from taking note of its state-sponsored violence against women,” the spokesperson underlined, pledging to hold Tehran accountable. “We continue to pursue unilateral action, multilateral measures, and UN mechanisms to hold Iranian authorities accountable for this flagrant denial of the Iranian people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The Biden Administration has frozen nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic, which it pursued for 18 months until August, because of what it says is Iran’s unacceptable demands outside the confines of the nuclear issue. The main hurdle appears to be some sanctions imposed by the previous administration for non-nuclear reasons, including support for terrorism, Tehran’s missile program and human rights violations.
The current round of protests, triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini by Islamic Republic’s ‘hijab police’, have toughened Western attitudes toward Iran’s clerical regime. The fact that the unrest began because of oppression against women finally exposed gross Tehran’s gross violations of human rights.
Some Democrats in Congress have also voiced support for the protests, in addition to vociferous Republican opposition to the Iranian regime. One of this strong voices is Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who is opposed to the 2015 nuclear accord known as the JCPOA and demands a tougher position against Tehran.
As the administration issued multiple new sanctions this week on foreign individuals and companies violating Iran sanctions, 14 Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee demanded greater “pressure on the [Iranian] regime” and “justice and accountability for the brave Iranians who already lost their lives at the hands of state authorities…”
Among the signatories were Joaquin Castro, Ted Lieu, Ilhan Omar, Brad Schneider, and Susan Wild. Lieu, who opposed the JCPOA in 2015, said the US should “impose immediately all sanctions that are still available on Iran.”