President Joe Biden has hit back at Iran over the government’s brutal crackdown on antigovernment protests. He’s praised the “brave women of Iran” for demanding basic rights and signaled that he’ll announce more sanctions against those responsible for violence against protesters in the coming days.
The outpouring of anger — largely led by young women and directed at the government’s male leadership — has created a seminal moment for the country, spurring some of the largest and boldest protests against the country’s Islamic leadership seen in years.
And while the Biden administration says it is dedicated to standing by the women of Iran, the president faces a tough question: Can he credibly side with the protest movement while also trying to salvage the languishing 2015 Iran nuclear deal that would pump billions into Tehran’s treasury?
“The risk of a nuclear Iran is terrifying on all levels,” Marjan Keypour Greenblatt, director of a network of activists that promotes human rights in Iran and a nonresident scholar with the Middle East Institute’s Iran Program, wrote in an analysis this week. “However, President Biden simply cannot offer the prospect of sanctions relief and de facto legitimize a regime that is ruthlessly gunning down its own citizens in the street.”