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Russia slams Pompeo’s support for rioters in Iran as hypocritical

November 22, 2019 - 18:12

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has slammed the recent comments by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the Iranian protests as “hypocritical”.

“[The statement by Mike Pompeo] left us puzzled since most of the things that sparked the discontent and other processes that are taking place in Iran were actually brought upon the Islamic Republic by the U.S.’ own actions,” she said, according to Sputnik.

Zakharova noted that Tehran’s decision to raise fuel prices, which sparked protests, was a result of the “illegal and massive sanctions pressure” that the U.S. is applying against Iran.

She added that the Iranian population’s rights to receive food, medication, and other necessities have been violated due to Washington’s actions.

“The way we see it – this was the U.S. goal all along, when they decided to initiate the policy of sanctions pressure against Iran. It turns out that, on the one hand, Washington supports the aspirations of the Iranian people, at least verbally, and on the other hand, they are doing anything possible to make the population of this country suffer,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.“The way we see it – this was the U.S. goal all along, when they decided to initiate the policy of sanctions pressure against Iran. It turns out that, on the one hand, Washington supports the aspirations of the Iranian people, at least verbally, and on the other hand, they are doing anything possible to make the population of this country suffer”, she said.

Protests were sparked in some cities in Iran against the government’s measure in rationing gasoline and substantially increasing its price. The protests turned violent as rioters clashed between security forces and damaged public and private property.

Hooligans took advantage of the protest over price rise to do sabotage acts in some cities such as putting banks and state buildings on ablaze.

On November 16, Pompeo tweeted, “As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you.” 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that the U.S.’ claims of support for the Iranian people is a “shameful lie”.

“A regime which imposes economic terrorism and prevents sending food and medicine to ordinary people, including the elderly and sick ones, can never make an obscene claim of supporting the Iranian people,” Zarif said.

He said, “Lawful protest is the people’s right which has been recognized by the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is no need for deceitful supports of regimes which seek to reach their illegitimate and illegal objectives through imposing economic pressure, even in area of food and medicine, on the Iranian people.”

He added, “Countries which have shown no capability and will to counter the United States’ economic terrorism and are hiding their incapability through supporting chaos should bear responsibility for consequences of their dangerous provocations.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Sunday that the Iranian people condemn Pompeo’s support for rioters.

“Actions being taken by a number of rioters and saboteurs who are supported by someone like him [Pompeo] have nothing to do with the insightful Iranian people,” Mousavi said.

He added that the Iranian people are well aware that such supports “are not out of sympathy”.

“Interesting! They are expressing sympathy with the people who are under the United States’ economic terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry official noted. 

Mousavi added that Pompeo is claiming support for the Iranian people while he had said before that Iran should surrender if it wants its people to eat.

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned Switzerland’s Ambassador to Tehran Markus Leitner, whose country represents the U.S. interests in Iran, over Pompeo’s comments.

In a commentary on Tuesday, the British newspaper Independent said the U.S. support for the Iranian protesters is not genuine as Washington’s sanctions has caused economic crisis in the country.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, said that if Mike Pompeo really wants to help the people of Iran, he can move to end their collective punishment through sanctions that are strangling their health and economy.

“The last thing they need is for the U.S. State Department to undermine their protests by manipulating their grievances for political potshots,” she said.

A senior Democratic Congressional aide told The Independent, “No one seriously believes they care about the rights of Iranians.”

NA/PA

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