After a week of deadly unrest, U.S. President Donald Trump aims to achieve success in internal politics using the protests in Iran, experts have argued.
"Ahead of the upcoming congressional elections, Trump aims to achieve success in domestic politics over the incidents in Iran. Following Raqqa, and tax reform, the president has to achieve something new," Kılıç Kanat said speaking on a panel organized by the Foundation for Political Economic and Social Research (SETA).
The protests started last week in Mashhad over economic hardships, but quickly turned into nationwide anti-government protests in which at least 20 protesters and one police officer have been killed.
Underlining that the U.S. president aims to distinguish himself from previous administrations, Kanat said that Trump wants to support the protests first, as President Barack Obama's administration was subjected to criticism for turning a blind eye to the previous protests. Kanat added that Trump is also promising not to take missteps like the Obama administration, such as the nuclear deal with Iran.
Similar statements from Israel and the U.S. supporting the protests have been subjected to criticism from the international community on the grounds that Iran should solve its own internal affairs.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States and Israel on Friday of meddling in Iran. "We cannot accept that some countries – foremost the U.S. and Israel – interfere in the internal affairs of Iran and Pakistan," Erdogan told reporters before heading on a trip to France. "It is turning the people against each other in these countries. It's a shame that we have seen this done in many nations. We saw this in Iraq."
"The Turkish government has presented a clear stance against the possible instability in Iran since it has perceived that the incidents were stemming from the meddling of foreign powers," professor Kemal İnat, an academic at Sakarya University, said.
İnat said that Turkey has expressed its support for the Iranian government even though the neighbors do not have the best relations and are not on common terms on various issues. He added that Iran had also had a similar approach by supporting the democratically elected government in Turkey during last year's coup attempt.
Even though Trump seems eager to comment on the recent incidents, Kanat said that the U.S. has no clear policy on Iran. He said that the U.S. has been facing a great crisis in its foreign policy as the rhetoric of the president and government officials are substantially different. "The president's inner circle aims at a political change in Iran in the long term with a purpose of preventing its activities in the region," Kanat said.
Another group in the government, which is more realistic, is not in favor of American meddling in the protests, but would like to see the activities of Iran be restricted by these protests, Kanat contended. He added that the U.S. State Department has been emphasizing human rights in Iran and the country is more willing to take an active role.
Following the statements from government officials that the protests have been suppressed, thousands of government supporters rallied across Iran on Friday, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and accusing arch enemy the United States of instigating the largest anti-government protests in nearly a decade.
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