'The Syrians Got the Message'
Netanyahu Asks the World to Help IranPrime minister relates fictional story of teen struggling with the national deprivations in Tehran due to regime spending billions on war
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night released an English-language video on social media calling on the world to help Iranians improve their lives by standing up to “a regime that oppresses them and denies them a life of dignity, prosperity and respect.”
In the video, Netanyahu addresses the camera and tells the story of an imaginary 15-year-old girl called Fatemeh.
Fatemeh, Netanyahu says, has no water, electricity shortages, can’t remove her head-covering outside the home, and her school is cancelled due to air pollution.
“She stops at her favorite bakery in the Aladdin mall to eat cake yazdi but there’s a nation-wide strike,” Netanyahu continues. Firefighters cannot afford the proper equipment to extinguish fires.
The protests, which began at the end of June in Tehran and around the country — including economically hard-hit cities like Kermanshah in western Iran — featured shouts of “Death to Palestine,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon” and “Leave Syria and think of us,” highlighting Iran’s continued support for Palestinian groups and Syrian President Bashar Assad despite the country’s dire economic state. Chants of “We don’t want the ayatollahs” and “Death to the dictator” were also heard at some rallies.
Showcasing his soccer skills in a video posted on social media, Netanyahu drew a parallel between the demonstrations and the Iranian soccer team’s “impossible” feat in the FIFA World Cup, when it scored a 1-1 draw against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, including blocking a penalty kick by the superstar. He added that he hoped to eventually see Iran play a match against Israel.
Stopping Ronaldo is “almost impossible,” said Netanyahu, “but the Iranian team just did the impossible.”
“To the Iranian people I say: You showed courage on the playing field, and today you showed the same courage in the streets of Iran,” the prime minister said in the video.
In recent years, Iran has provided financial aid to Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Shiite militias in Iraq. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Tehran has poured a reported $6 billion into propping up Assad’s government.
At the end of last year, similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to some 75 cities and towns, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since its 2009 disputed presidential election.
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