- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten has come out in support of the protesters in Iran, but she stressed that she still supports the Iran nuclear deal.

“Every person on this planet should have the right to protest for freedom and opportunity—that is the essence of democracy,” Ms. Weingarten, who runs one of the largest teachers unions in the U.S., said in a statement released Tuesday.

“The people of Iran were promised a better life by their leaders in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, and we stand with them. Iran’s people thirst for the better life they were promised,” she said.

She clarified that her support for demonstrations against the hardline cleric rulers in Tehran did not equate with opposition to the nuclear deal struck with the regime under President Obama.

“While we supported the Iran deal, support or opposition for the deal shouldn’t dictate whether or not you speak out against oppression,” she said. “Support for democracy and freedom shouldn’t come with caveats or conditions, and the AFT supports all people fighting for basic dignity and rights.”

Ms. Weingarten has been a staunch opponent of President Trump, who has criticized the deal for not doing enough to end Iran’s nuclear weapon program or curb its terrorist activities while lifting economic sanctions on the country.

Mr. Trump disavowed the deal in October but has not moved to reimpose sanctions. He will have another opportunity to consider sanctions before a Jan. 12 to reaffirm the agreement.

Mr. Trump pledged U.S. support for the protesters Wednesday.

“Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!” he wrote on Twitter.

The street protests have continued for six days and left at least 20 people dead. The demonstrations were sparked by frustration over the economic hardship for young and working class Iranians but has evolved into a broader challenge to the hardline clerical rulers who took power in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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