Outside Agitators behind Recent Riots in Iran: Paul Craig Roberts
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior American political analyst and author said Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei is “correct” to say that the recent protests in Iran were directed from abroad, noting that the rioters were sponsored by outside agitators.
“It is difficult to believe that Iranians are so stupid that they do not understand the source of their hardships. As I do not believe that Iranians are stupid, I conclude that the protesters were manipulated and/or paid to protest by foreign-funded NGOs as in the Maidan protest in Kiev,” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former US assistant secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and current chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, told the Tasnim news agency.
From early 1981 to January 1982, Roberts served as assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. After his time in government, he turned to journalism, holding positions of editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week, the Scripps Howard News Service as well as contributing editor to Harper's Magazine. Roberts was professor of business administration and professor of economics at George Mason University and was the inaugural William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University, serving for 12 years.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: Last week, peaceful protests over rising prices and economic problems broke out in some Iranian cities, but the unauthorized gatherings turned violent after a number of opportunists, some of them armed, vandalized public property and launched attacks on police stations and government buildings. Siding with the rioters, a number of US officials, including Trump and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, did their best to hype up the unrest. Do you see any connection between the rioters and US continued support for them as Iran says it has hard evidence that the riots were directed from abroad? Kindly explain.
Roberts: In order to destabilize a country or to setup a country for sanctions or other hostile actions, it is standard practice for Washington to fund nongovernmental “reform” organizations. Members of these organizations are then sent into protests, and when the protests begin, Washington sends in violence.
Tasnim: On Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei said a “triangle” of enemies -- with the United States and Israel comprising one of its sides, a rich Persian Gulf littoral state on its second side and the anti-Iran MKO terror organization on the third side -- has been plotting for the past few months to foment chaos and violence in Iran. What is your take on this?
Roberts: (Ayatollah) Khamenei is correct.
Tasnim: The Leader further said that the cash for the unrest came from “one of the filthy rich Persian Gulf littoral states. Obviously, such projects need money, but the Americans won't be willing to spend anything” as long as they have these rich allies”. What do you think?
Roberts: Yes, the Saudis are involved. However, the US dollar being the reserve currency means that Washington can create all the money it needs to destabilize Iran. It doesn’t need the Saudis except as cover so that it doesn’t look like only Washington is involved.
Tasnim: Ayatollah Khamenei also noted that the US is angry with the Iranian nation, establishment and the Islamic Revolution due to the blows it has taken from this great movement. Why is the US after the collapse of the Islamic Establishment?
Roberts: Iran is not the only country targeted. So are Russia, China, Venezuela, North Korea, and every country that has an independent foreign policy. Washington is hegemonic in its outlook and resents any limit to its unilateralism. Additionally, Washington lost Iran when the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah, and Washington is determined to get Iran back.
I would add that in view of Washington’s actions against Honduras, Venezuela, Serbia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and so forth, it is complete stupidity for any Iranian to engage in protests against the Iranian government. Only a complete fool would help Washington turn Iran into the chaos as exists in Iraq and Iran. Moreover, it makes no sense to protest against the Iranian government for hardships imposed by Washington’s sanctions. It is difficult to believe that Iranians are so stupid that they do not understand the source of their hardships. As I do not believe that Iranians are stupid, I conclude that the protesters were manipulated and/or paid to protest by foreign-funded NGOs as in the Maidan protest in Kiev.