U.S. President Donald Trump will suffocate Iran’s “dictatorial ayatollahs”, his close ally Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday, suggesting his move to re-impose sanctions was aimed squarely at regime change, according to Reuters.
The former New York mayor who is now Trump’s personal lawyer, was addressing a conference of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella bloc of opposition groups in exile that seek an end to Shi’ite Muslim clerical rule in Iran.
“I can’t speak for the president, but it sure sounds like he doesn’t think there is much of a chance of a change in behavior unless there is a change in people and philosophy,” Giuliani told Reuters in an interview.
“We are the strongest economy in the world … and if we cut you off then you collapse,” he said, pointing to protests in Iran. In May, Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 international deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting some sanctions.
Trump supporters have spoken at NCRI events in the past, including national security adviser John Bolton, who, before taking his post at the same conference last July, told the group’s members they would be ruling Iran before 2019 and their goal should be regime change, Reuters reports.
According to the Associated Press, the demonstrations, which appear to be an extension of nationwide protests that began on December 28 and have continued for months – came after protests forced two major shopping centers for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran on Sunday.
Video of Iranians chanting “We don’t want the mullahs” outside the Grand Bazaar spread over social media, previously reported on by The Jewish Voice.
In a change from Iran’s generally anti-Semitic stance, Iranian protesters were chanting “Death to Palestine!”
Everyday Iranians have revolted against the regime’s decision to finance wars and its revolutionary endeavors in places like Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Lebanon, and its support for the Palestinian people instead of its own struggling population, according to sources on the ground.
Iranians started posting videos of themselves this month getting rid of and destroying regime-run charity donation boxes that they believed were going to Gaza to pay for lavish meals while their own people struggle to offer donations to Gaza.