In the summer of 2009, thousands of young Iranians seeking freedom and a true democracy hit the streets in protest of the tyrannical, Islamic government controlling the country. Due to a lack of free press, they used Twitter to get their message out as millions around the world watched anxiously.
This wasn't an Arab Spring movement, but rather a legitimate cause that could have changed the stronghold the current Iranian regime has on its people and the region. The people risking their lives in protest repeatedly looked to the United States and newly minted President Obama for leadership and help. After all, his American campaign for the White House was based on a slogan of hope and change.
But Obama's help never came and the United States stood by as a once vibrant movement was snuffed out.
Now a new book, Iran Wars, details how Obama's failure to act was deliberate, went against the counsel of his top advisors and shows he was more interested in cementing his legacy with an Iranian nuclear deal than aiding the country in its desire for freedom. Bloomberg reports on the findings:
Obama wasn't just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, "The Iran Wars," Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.Even with a Iran nuclear deal, the relationship between the United States and the regime hasn't improved. Missiles are still being launched in violation of sanctions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is harassing U.S. ships at sea and still regularly takes American hostages. Further, it's important to remember the Iran nuclear deal doesn't prevent a nuclear weapon, it simply delays the timing.
Solomon reports that Obama ordered the CIA to sever contacts it had with the green movement's supporters. "The Agency has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms," Solomon writes. "But in this case the White House ordered it to stand down."
Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country's ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession. And even though the president would impose severe sanctions on the country's economy at the end of his first term and beginning of his second, from the start of his presidency, Obama made it clear the U.S. did not seek regime change for Iran.
A successful Green Revolution would have changed the course of history for the better. To say the least, it's failure was a horribly lost opportunity.