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A decade later, Obama admits he made a mistake failing to support 2009 Iranian uprisings

Obama said it is “hard to predict” whether current protests will force regime change, but U.S. needs to stand with the demonstrators.

Published: October 15, 2022 11:41pm

Updated: October 15, 2022 11:46pm

Former President Barack Obama is belatedly acknowledging he erred by failing to embrace the Iranian uprising in 2009 known as the “Green Movement” as a new round of protests and strikes rage in Tehran more than 13 years later.

“In retrospect, I think that was a mistake,” Obama, said Friday, referring to his administrations tepid response to the 2009 movement. “Every time we see a flash, a glimmer of hope, of people longing for freedom, I think we have to point it out.

“We have to shine a spotlight on it. We have to express some solidarity about it,” the 44th president told the Pod Save America podcast operated by some of his former advisers.

A new uprising has been underway in Iran for 30 days, ignited by the beating death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic morality police.

Obama said it is “hard to predict” whether the current protests will achieve regime change, but that the West needs to stand with the demonstrators in the face of a brutal crackdown. 

He hailed “the incredible courage that is taking place in Iran and those women and girls who are on the streets knowing that they’re putting themselves in harm’s way to speak truth to power.”

Obama added it was important “to affirm what they do and I hope that it brings about more space for the kind of civic conversation that over time can take the country down a better path.”

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