In September, protests erupted across Iran when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the supposed morality police. She was allegedly arrested for wearing a hijab improperly. The opposition to the government has been so strong, some say it’s the biggest threat to the country’s leadership since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Robert Malley is President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Iran. He was tasked with reviving the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement, and Malley has been vocal about the need to restore it.
Still, as protests rage in the Islamic country, the envoy discredited an Iranian opposition group. That sparked a strong response from a bipartisan group of former members of Congress, military officers, and other government officials who said the special envoy was “abetting” Iran.
Bipartisan Group Accuses Biden’s Iranian Envoy of Suppressing Liberty
In early November, a State Department spokesperson stated the US government looked at the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) as a liability instead of an asset. The MEK has sought to overthrow the mullahs. In addition, the State Department said the MEK isn’t a viable opposition group representing the people and expressed concerns how the group allegedly abuses its members. The announcement came after Foreign Policy released an article in which Iran stated the US was working with the MEK to attack it.
In a strongly worded statement, 23 former lawmakers, military officers, and government officials blamed Malley for the State Department’s announcement. They stated that he “saw an opportunity to appease the regime” through “false and disparaging allegations” against the MEK. The group noted that while the Biden administration made the claims, men and women were fighting for their liberties and dying for their freedoms. They called it a betrayal of the Iranian people and the principles of America.
In addition, the statement alleged Malley’s recklessness aided and abetted the “suppression of liberty and democracy in Iran.”
Among the signers were former officials, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), FBI director Louis Freeh, and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz.
New Study Says Iranian People Support Protests and Oppose Their Leaders
The joint statement added that Iran was brutally suppressing MEK and other protestors. It said if Malley believes adopting the regime’s propaganda will aid his cause in reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, he needs to be removed.
To highlight how the opposition campaign was legitimate and could topple the mullahs, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change highlighted how deep the support for the movement and resistance to the country’s leadership was among the people.
Key findings included:
- 78% of those between 20 and 29 years of age oppose the hijab
- 68% between 30 and 49, and 74% of those over 50, also opposed the hijab
- 71% of men and 74% of women opposed it as well