Iranians Skeptical Over US Claims of Support
Tehranis said Monday they were deeply skeptical at Washington's claims that it stood with them against their government, as tensions rose again following the latest threats from US President Donald Trump.
"It's true that at the moment our society is in a crisis and under pressure that is creating discontent," said Haleh, a child psychologist in the north Tehran suburb of Jordan. "But we don't want the West to impose a revolution that can lead to disorder," she added.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a much-hyped speech in California on Sunday in which he described Iran's government as "a nightmare for the Iranian people."
He announced an intensified American propaganda campaign so that "ordinary Iranians inside Iran and around the globe can know that America stands with them."
Trump added to the tensions on Sunday with an angry response to President Hassan Rouhani, who had warned a conflict with Iran would be the "mother of all wars".
"NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE," Trump blasted on Twitter.
Many Iranians—even those opposed to the current system—fear what they see as a push for regime change, especially after the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and announced it was reimposing crippling financial sanctions.
"People want change, but not necessarily a change of regime," said office worker Firouzeh.
"It's been 40 years since the last revolution and we are still paying the price. An entire generation has paid the price. Do they really want another revolution?"
Regardless of how they view their government, Iranians are at least glad to have been spared the violence engulfing much of the region.
"For us, the most important thing is security, and for now we have security. We must have reforms, but people hope it happens without violence so that everyone wins," said Haleh, the psychologist.
Others felt a deal was still possible with the US president.
"Trump is a businessman," said Amir, who said he did multiple jobs to get by in Iran's struggling economy.
"He'll make an offer and we'll reach a mutual agreement, with God's help."
He said all Iranians were worried about the economy, with large-scale unemployment, rising prices and a currency that has dropped to record lows against the dollar.
"The government must listen to the problems of the people. It can be done, it's not impossible," said Amir.
"But Iranians will not accept being forced (by outside powers). They will react to defend their national honor and dignity," he added.
The head of Iran's powerful Basij militia said Trump's threats were "psychological warfare".
"He is not in a position to act against Iran. The people and the armed forces will stand up against our enemies and will not come up short," said General Gholam Hossein Gheypour, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Photo Credit: Thomas Christofoletti