May 22, 2017

Word: Trump and Iran

Robert McKey, Intercept - The hypocrisy of America’s support for unelected despots in the oil-rich Gulf states is not new, but Donald Trump’s lavish praise for them on Sunday, as allies against “Islamist extremism” and “the oppression of women,” was particularly striking, coming one day after Iranian voters danced in the streets to celebrate their reformist president’s landslide re-election.

As Iran’s moderates celebrated on Saturday night, Trump and members of his cabinet were dancing with swords in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Sunday, Trump made no mention of the scenes in Iran or of President Hassan Rouhani, whose diplomatic engagement with the West over Iran’s nuclear program helped to avert the war American allies in the region, including the Gulf states and Israel, seemed to be still hoping for.

Instead, the American president promised the monarchs and autocrats in the room that he would work with them “to isolate Iran.” He also promised, bizarrely, “to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal” from American arms makers.

As Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council observed, Trump seemed to be in full agreement with his host, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who called Iran’s government “the spearhead of global terrorism.”

As the vote-counting in local elections in Iran continued on Sunday, the contrast between Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy and the partial democracy there became even more stark with the news that moderates had also won sweeping victories in Tehran and other cities.

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