State Department official and Iran envoy Brian Hook called Iran’s nationwide protests “the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years” during a press conference Thursday, and urged the international community to unite against the government in support of protesters.
“These protests have made clear what Secretary Pompeo and I have been saying for quite some time,” Hook said. “The Iranian people want the regime to focus on investing in people, not proxies. They are sick of the regime squandering its wealth on proxy warfare, which leads only to economic pressure and diplomatic isolation. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Iranian regime continues to do, even while the Iranian people were filling the streets, calling for an end to sectarian adventurism.”
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 5, 2019
Hook also said the regime “could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began” — a figure much higher than what other organizations have estimated. Hook attributed the statistic to “crowdsourcing intelligence,” saying the State Department has received over 32,000 submissions in response to a tweet from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked Iranian protestors to submit documentation of government abuse to help the U.S. in pursuit of sanctions.
I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos, and information documenting the regime’s crackdown on protestors. The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses. https://t.co/korr5p0woA
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2019
The protests, triggered in November by rising fuel prices, have already resulted in an almost-total internet blackout across the country. On Sunday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards massacred up to one hundred people in a single incident, Hook confirmed.
The special representative for Iran said that two Iranian prisons had already met the criteria for “gross human rights violations” set out by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law signed by President Trump in 2017 which allows U.S. sanctions against persons responsible for human rights violations in Iran.
“There has been overwhelming support for the Iranian people by the American people,” Hook said. “It is clear there is a bipartisan consensus that the regime’s treatment of the Iranian people is abhorrent and unacceptable. We are unified here in the United States, and the international community likewise should be unified and support the Iranian people.”