When Kassem Eid first saw the mass anti-government protests in Iran, he thought back to the once peaceful anti-Assad marches in Syria, to the subsequent sarin gas attack he suffered from, to the eventual civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead, and he saw President Trump do what President Obama failed to: Support the protesters.
“We risked our lives, we risked our future, we risked everything,” Eid told FOX Business’ Liz MacDonald. “We marched peacefully in the streets for more than 11 months. And all we got was statements of a couple of meager reports and that is it. The regime kept killing and torturing people.”
The Iranian protests -- the largest since demonstrations following the 2009 elections -- began on Thursday across the country and, over the course of six days, have left at least 20 dead and more than 450 people have been arrested. Trump has tweeted about the protests seven times since Friday, often vocalizing his support.
“Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government,” he wrote in one tweet. “You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time.”
Trump’s tweets marked a stark change in U.S. foreign policy under Obama, who did not want to be as “meddling” in Iran and faced partisan accusations of appeasement.
The Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by Obama provided more than $100 billion sanctions relief to Tehran, and the administration made a $400 million cash payment to Iran at the same time the authoritarian government released American prisoners. (Though critics -- including Trump -- suggested this was a “ransom,” the administration denied that characterization.)
But part of the reason why Eid, who was 24-years-old when the Syrian protests began in 2011, supported so vehemently Trump’s decision to throw American might behind the Iranian protesters is because in 2012, Obama drew a “red line” for Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, starting at the usage of chemical weapons. Despite this, Assad continued to use chemical weapons.
“In that particular moment, most of the world, and including a lot and a lot of people around the world like me who were looking up to the United States as the good guys, as the people who are going to help us and save us, but in that moment, Obama destroyed the credibility of the United States,” Eid said.