Mike Pence Promises Trump Won't Repeat Obama's "Shameful" Mistake on Iran Protests

Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2017. Pence has promised the current U.S. administration will not ignore the “heroic resistance of the Iranian people” following a series of mass demonstrations in cities across the Islamic Republic of Iran. Joshua Roberts/File Photo/Reuters

Mike Pence has promised the U.S. administration will not ignore the "heroic resistance of the Iranian people" following a series of mass demonstrations in cities across the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The vice president also took a sly dig at the Obama administration, which acted cautiously during similar protests in Iran in 2009, stating he and Trump would not be repeating the "shameful" mistakes of the past in ignoring the uprising.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Pence said: "As long as @RealDonaldTrump is POTUS and I am VP, the United States of America will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people as they fought against their brutal regime."

"The bold and growing resistance of the Iranian people today gives hope and faith to all who struggle for freedom and against tyranny. We must not and we will not let them down," he added.

The vice president's comments echo those of the Trump administration's, whose vocal support for the demonstrators takes a different tack to that used by former President Barack Obama and has been slammed by Tehran.

Tweeting about the events in Iran that began last Thursday, the president wrote: "Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years."

"They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!" he added.

The protests that have spread across Iranian cities over the past four days are the largest since 2009, when the country's disputed re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to mass protests known as the Green Movement.

Thousands of people were arrested during the ongoing demonstrations in 2009, and official Iranian figures state more than 30 people were killed in the clashes. Unconfirmed reports from opposition supporters suggest the death toll was more than twice the number than that of the officially recognized figure.

At the time, then-U.S. President Obama took a cautious approach to the demonstrations in Iran, warning that the administration should not be seen as "meddling" in Iranian affairs.

"It is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be," CNN reported Obama stating in June 2009. "We respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran, which sometimes the United States can be a handy political football," he added.

Although Obama warned against violence toward protesters, and several days after the protests broke out condemned the shooting of one demonstrator, his initial reaction was perceived by some to be slow off the mark. Others argued that by failing to back the protests, Obama avoided giving Tehran an excuse to claim they were orchestrated by the U.S.

The recent demonstrations have seen at least 10 people killed in violent clashes that have reportedly seen riot police open fire on demonstrators.

Hundreds of people are believed to have been arrested, while access to social media appears to have been restricted by the government. Iranian citizens have been warned they will "face the nation's iron fist" if demonstrations continue.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Saturday also accused the U.S. of being "opportunistic" in its support for demonstrators, stating: "The great Iranian nation regards the opportunist and duplicitous support of the American officials for certain gatherings over the recent days in some Iranian cities as nothing but [part of] the deceit and hypocrisy of the U.S. administration."

"The Iranian people attach no value to the opportunistic remarks by American officials and [President Donald] Trump himself," he added, according to the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency, calling U.S. statements "cheap, worthless and invalid."

Mike Pence Promises Trump Won't Repeat Obama's "Shameful" Mistake on Iran Protests | U.S.