Over the past few months, thousands of demonstrators mobilized by the National Solidarity Group for Iran have taken to the streets of Washington, DC to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran’s violent response to ongoing nationwide protests.
The public marches have been held in numerous locations, including outside the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. “Every Saturday, we change the location of the demonstration in Washington, DC to inform public opinion and the international media about what is happening in Iran,” explained Siamak Aram, an organizer of the rallies.
In addition to local grassroots activists, the rallies have attracted some famous Iranian artists, such as guitarist Babak Amini and singers Faramarz Aslani and Ebrahim Hamedi (better known as Ebi).
Not aiming to merely secure concessions or reforms from the Iranian government, most of the protesters in Washington, DC have called for the toppling of the Islamic Republic. Chants at the rallies have included, “one solution, revolution,” and “we want freedom.”
While protesters have largely focused on Iran’s human rights abuses following (and including) the Sept. 2022 death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for violating the country’shijablaws, they have also criticized the Biden administration’s policy toward Tehran. The rallies have included chants and banners demanding that the U.S. government cease nuclear talks with Iran, arguing that the negotiations give the Iranian government legitimacy, stability and an avenue to desperately needed financial resources.
Protesters have also targeted fellow Iranian Americans who support diplomacy with Iran, namely the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Indeed, chants have included, “one, two, three, four, NIAC supports dictator.” NIAC has rejected such criticisms, stating that they do not support or receive funding from the Iranian government and view the nuclear deal as an important way to improve the everyday lives of Iranians by lifting stifling sanctions and preventing a devastating war.
So far, U.S. officials have not officially declared an end to the nuclear negotiations, however the talks appear to be, at best, on life support. Video has recently emerged of President Joe Biden telling a supporter that the deal “is dead, but we’re not going to announce it.” For now, the administration seems to technically keep the talks alive while simultaneously showing strong support for Iranian protesters.
Given their momentum and deeply held beliefs, it seems unlikely the Washington, DC protesters will relent on their demands for regime change any time soon, especially if the cycle of protesting and repression continues in Iran.