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July 23, 2018 2:32 pm

Iran Dissidents Greet Pompeo Speech With Renewed Calls for Overthrow of Tehran Regime

avatar by Ben Cohen

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People protest in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 30, 2017, in this picture obtained from social media. Photo: Reuters.

Thousands of opponents of Iran’s Islamist regime have taken to social media in reaction to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on Sunday declaring solidarity with the Iranian people.

Pompeo told an audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, CA., that in the light of recent anti-regime protests, along with “forty years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran.”

Pompeo continued: “The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you.”

One Twitter user inside Iran responded by telling Pompeo, “We have a rich country and we are poor, we have tourist attractions and we are isolated.”

“We are peaceful but we live under the shadow of war,” the tweet continued. “We are not hostile to other countries, yet we are under sanctions. And finally, we do not have what we should have, and we do have what we should not have.”

The tweet concluded: “The cause of all these troubles is the Islamic Republic.”

Data gathered on Monday by Algemeiner contributor Kaveh Taheri — a former political prisoner in Iran now living in Turkey with refugee status — showed that at least 460,000 tweets carrying the hashtag #IslamicRegimeMustGo were posted in the hours following Pompeo’s speech. Most of the tweets were written in Farsi, and came from users inside Iran, Taheri said.

Many of the tweets referenced Pompeo’s observation that “the level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government.”

“When we say #IslamicRegimeMustGo, we mean all Mullahs, their relatives, their lobbyists and apologists, kleptocrats must go,” declared one Twitter user. “We only can rebuild our country and breathe if all those bloodsuckers go.”

Several tweets openly demanded regime change. “The regime of the Islamic Republic has proved in these years that it is not reformable, so there is no other way but regime change,” one user asserted.

During his speech, Pompeo argued that the “regime’s decision to prioritize an ideological agenda over the welfare of the Iranian people has put Iran into a long-term economic tailspin.”

“During the time of the [2015] nuclear deal, Iran’s increased oil revenues could have gone to improving the lives of the Iranian people,” the secretary of state said. “Instead they went to terrorists, dictators, and proxy militias. Today, thanks to regime subsidies, the average Hezbollah combatant makes two to three times what an Iranian firefighter makes on the streets of Iran.”

Pompeo added that “a third of Iranian youth are unemployed, and a third of Iranians now live below the poverty line.”

Pompeo’s comments in California left little doubt that he personally regarded the Tehran regime as beyond reform. Yet he did hold out the prospects of  bilateral talks nonetheless, and stopped short of calling for regime change.

“Our hope is that ultimately the regime will make meaningful changes in its behavior both inside of Iran and globally,” Pompeo said. “As President Trump has said, we’re willing to talk with the regime in Iran, but relief from American pressure will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies.”

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