The protests are the biggest wave of discontent Iran has seen since 2009. They began in late December and led to more than 22 deaths and 3,700 arrests.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, backed a resolution condemning the regime’s web censorship and the response by the Revolutionary Guards.
“We all face a clear choice: stand with the protesters – who demand the basic rights and opportunities enjoyed in free societies – or stand with their oppressors – who steal the wealth of a great nation to enrich themselves and to fund violence abroad,” said Royce, who added, “These brave men and women are standing up against the Revolutionary Guards’ violent intervention in Syria and Lebanon. We must join them in demanding an end to the single greatest source of instability in the Middle East.”
Royce also talked about a congressional law that would target those responsible for human rights violations during the crackdown, and another one to “push the corrupt Revolutionary Guards out of the Iranian economy.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan used Twitter to speak “in support of the Iranian people’s right to protest their brutal regime.”
On January 10th, Royce will chair a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting to weigh whether sanctions have worked against Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah, and examine curbs on North Korea and Russia, as well.
Trump tweeted his support of Iranian protesters almost daily during the peak of the rallies, as he gears up to make major decisions about the Iran nuclear deal. Deadlines related to the deal begin late this week. These decisions include whether to re-impose oil sanctions lifted under the 2015 deal, according to State Department spokesman Steve Goldstein. Goldstein also told journalists that ahead of these decisions, Trump is expected to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the White House later in the week.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that foreign attempts to turn legitimate protests into an insurgency had failed.
The regime appears to be confident that it has quashed unrest that spread to more than 80 cities. “The enemy now repeatedly makes moves and they are defeated each time,” Khamenei said, according to state media. “It’s because of the resistance, because of the strong populist and national dam.”