A White House spokesman said Friday that President Joe Biden “expressed solidarity” with protesters when he said at an election event late Thursday that “we will liberate Iran.”
The comment provoked an outraged reaction from the Tehran government and went beyond the president’s previous statements, which were carefully worded to avoid suggesting direct US involvement in the protests.
“Don’t worry. We will liberate Iran. Iran will be liberated soon,” Biden told an audience in California.
The next day, the White House said Biden had expressed support for the protest movement and was not suggesting a new approach.
“He was again expressing solidarity with them,” said John Kirby, communications coordinator for the National Security Council. said.
“The president was very clear about this…we will continue to look for ways to hold the administration accountable for how it treats its own people,” he said.
Yet Kirby said the United States had no indication that the Iranian regime was on the verge of change, even though Biden said the Iranians would be “soon to be released.”
Biden spoke out at a campaign event for vulnerable House Democrats in Southern California after an audience member brought up the subject over the phone with a sign reading “FREE IRAN.”
Protests have spread across Iran after the death of a young woman detained by Iran’s morality police. It imposed sanctions on Iranian officials in the department.
The Biden administration has voiced support for the Iranian protests, but previous messages aimed to avoid any implication that the United States was somehow involved in directing the current movement.
Iranian officials have repeatedly tried to blame the United States and other foreign governments for the ongoing demonstrations that have been rocking the country since mid-September.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi expressed support for the protest movement in a televised address on Friday, firing back at Biden, who promised to “liberate Iran.”
“A few hours ago, I was informed that the President of the United States was in a daze. [said]”We will liberate Iran soon. We were liberated 43 years ago, but Iran will never be your milking cow,” Raishi said.
“America is trying to destroy the unity and cohesion of our nation. Americans want to replicate the experiences of Libya, Syria and others in this country,” he continued.