It’s now the 7th day (as of January 3rd) of anti-government protests in Iran. The protests have been largely led by the brave millennial generation in Iran.
These protests are nothing like the political protests or rallies millennials and generation Z experience in America.
Instead of a rallying cry for campus “safe spaces” the youth of Iran are sending a cry calling for human rights.
It’s a courageous stand that could bring the wrath of the Iranian regime on them. The protests have spread to over 18 cities in Iran. Already the death toll from the protests has climbed to 21 people and according to Iran’s state media over 450 people have been arrested.
They are speaking out against government abuses, lack of economic opportunity, Tehran’s powerful clerical class and the brutal police beatings. World watch groups for decades have labeled Iran’s abuse of human rights as “extreme” including their persecution of Christians (Open Doors).
Iran doesn’t just abuse it’s own people but it also incites terror around the world. The U.S. State Department has labeled Iran as the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran provides “a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to groups around the world." (CNN).
Iran is a so called “Republic” but the people of Iran experience nothing like the United States political system of a Constitutional Republic.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was selected to rule by an indirect election by the Assembly of Experts and he has been in power now since 1989.
The Supreme leader blamed the protests on Iran’s enemies. He stated, "The enemy is waiting for an opportunity, for a flaw, through which they can enter. Look at these events over the last few days. All those who are against the Islamic Republic -- those who have money, those who have the politics, those who have the weapons, those who have the intelligence -- they have all joined forces in order to create problems for the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution" (CNN).
President Trump has taken a foreign policy approach far different than President Obama’s approach in 2009 during Iran anti-government protests when President Obama said his approach was to “watch and see.”
President Trump has sent multiple tweets in support of the people of Iran and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has boldly spoken out as well.
"The people of Iran are crying out for freedom. All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause," Ambassador Nikki Haley said.
In response to the anti-government protests Iran has restricted the use of social media apps that were used to organize the protests including Instagram and Telegram.
There are two feelings Americans should be feeling.
COMPASSION for the oppressed people of Iran. They live under a regime that is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Their government operates in direct opposition to peace. Pray God gives the people of Iran wisdom as they push back against an evil regime and protection as they seek to fight for basic human rights.
Americans should feel a deep sense of GRATEFULNESS. I know I do. We are blessed to live in America. It is not a perfect nation. It never has been and it never will be – but it’s pretty close. We enjoy freedom and prosperity here that people in other parts of the world are willing to put their lives on the line to fight for. America is the longest running Constitutional Republic in the world. That is a blessing. Our gratefulness should birth in each of us a sense of responsibility. To be responsible stewards to ensure the freedoms we have been given in America continue.
Our generation in America should seek to be a voice for those truly oppressed in Iran. Their voice has been silenced on social media but ours is not. We, and the rest of the free nations in the world, can and and should speak out on their behalf.