Chanting "Death to America" and trampling upon and burning U.S. flags have been part of state-sponsored, anti-American acts in Iran for the past 40 years. However, recent footage of Iranian students appearing to refuse to step on US or Israeli flags show an entirely different reality.
Amid the chaos in Iran in recent days over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, killing 176 people, students at two universities were seen walking around US flags painted on the ground by officials in public acts of defiance against the clerical establishment and the state propaganda that portrays the United States and Israel as Tehran's biggest enemies.
Iranians in Sanandaj, west of Iran, refused to step on US flag. You'll see similar scenes regularly in Iran. Freedom fighters from Hong Kong to Iran respect ??, while regressive leftists in the US don't. #NancyPelosiFakeNews was wrong when she said Iranians protested against US. pic.twitter.com/46cG3X3ObV— Salman Sima (@SalmanSima) January 13, 2020
US president Donald Trump thanked "wonderful" demonstrators in Iran for the apparent pro-US gesture, which comes as tensions between Iran and the US were dialed back after coming to the brink of armed conflict.
"Wow! The wonderful Iranian protesters refused to step on, or in any way denigrate, our Great American Flag. It was put on the street in order for them to trample it, and they walked around it instead. Big progress!" he tweeted.
Wow! The wonderful Iranian protesters refused to step on, or in any way denigrate, our Great American Flag. It was put on the street in order for them to trample it, and they walked around it instead. Big progress!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2020
"This should embarrassed Iranian regime & their propaganda funeral for #Soleimani where people were told to chant 'Death To America'. Now people in Iran chanting 'Death to Islamic Republic dictatorship,'" Iranian political and women’s rights activist Alinejad said in a tweet.
Watch how Iranian students refuse to step on American & the flag of Israel.— Masih Alinejad ?️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 12, 2020
This should embarrassed Iranian regime & their propaganda funeral for #Soleimani where people were told to chant “Death To America”.
Now people in Iran chanting “Death to Islamic Republic dictatorship.” pic.twitter.com/hTxDuxZeaB
"Iranian protesters are likely very aware that the Iranian regime uses legitimate grievances against the United States and Israel to deflect criticism," said author and political activist Hellyer.
"By not stepping on their flags, they're unlikely to be showing support for the U.S. and Israel, but more just sending a message to the regime that they aren't interested in deflection," he said.
Iranian students on rejecting "the coattails of (imperial) arrogance from fear of oppression" and "tyranny in the name of anti-imperialism & resistance", insisting on "the simultaneous rejection of both domestic despotism & imperial arrogance." #Iran https://t.co/c237ZTOEUP— ᴅʀ ʜ.ᴀ. ʜᴇʟʟʏᴇʀ (@hahellyer) January 14, 2020
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