TEL AVIV — An Israeli politician who served as ambassador to the U.S. during the Obama administration said that former president Barack Obama chose not to support the 2009 protests in Iran because he was hoping to reach the deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons that was eventually signed six years later.
Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu) said on Monday that Israeli officials have since been critical of Obama.
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky called Obama’s neglecting of the protesters “the biggest failure to help human rights in modern history.”
Oren said that Obama initially claimed that his reason for not interfering was that he wanted to respect Iranian sovereignty in light of the 1953 coup in which the CIA helped overthrow Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
The White House told Israel secretly that Iranians did not want American support or encouragement, since this might discredit them in the eyes of the general population.
“In retrospect, those explanations are less credible,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post. “The Obama administration’s lack of support for the Green Revolution was part of a pattern in which it did not hold Iran accountable for any provocation. It would seem it was part of a general approach that began in Obama’s first week in office in 2009 of wanting to reach a deal with Iran at pretty much any cost.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, provocations ignored by the Obama administration included the Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters, the kidnapping of Americans, Iranian missile boats sailing close to American destroyers, and even an attempt to assassinate Oren and his Saudi counterpart in downtown Washington.
Oren compared the Obama administration’s view of Iran as a solution to problems in the Middle East with that of US President Donald Trump, who, according to Oren, sees Iran as the cause of problems in the Middle East.
The former ambassador said Trump knew the nuclear deal was a bad agreement without Israel needing to point this out to him.
“If the Iranian regime brutally cracks down on its own people peacefully demonstrating, imagine what that regime would do to nations it vows to obliterate,” Oren tweeted. “Under the nuclear deal, the regime could someday produce nuclear weapons. Nix or fix it now.”