At A Recent Protest, Some Iranians Promoted A New Message

Now with Trump as president, Iranians and Americans have more in common that they thought.

Of the seven countries on the list that President Trump banned from entering the U.S., Iran was the first to retaliate — with a ban of their own on incoming American citizens, no less. The frosty relations between the U.S. and Iran had seemed to be thawed a little during the Obama administration, but Trump swiftly and vigorously overturned that progress with an executive order that critics said was anti-Muslim.

As Iranians watched America grapple with the first weeks under the new administration, the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted, "We appreciate Trump! Because he largely did the job for us in revealing true face of America." 

Such remarks are not uncommon for Khamenei, whose disdain for the U.S. is well-documented. But this remark cast a different shadow under the light of the White House's harsh new immigration policies.


Iranians however, signaled a different tone when Khamenei called them on to protest the U.S. government's actions. While the requisite anti-U.S. chants were present, NBC News noted that there was no burning of the American flag, usually a common sight at such demonstrations. ABC News, in contrast, reported that at least one American flag was burned, and photos are circulating on social media that appear to show demonstrators burning an American flag.

In fact, some even attended the rally with signs expressing support for Americans and thanking them for standing up for Iranians affected by the ban. 

One rally-goer told NBC News, "We want no war. And I want to thank American people for supporting us." 

The connection between Iran and the U.S. extends beyond its governments' hostility towards each other. There are an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Iranian people in America, and media coverage on the effects of Trump's ban often center on Iranian-Americans. 

While the ban helps to validate hardline rhetoric in the country about the evils of America, it's clear that at least some Iranian people see more in common with their American counterparts than their governments do. 

Cover image via Shutterstock / Alexander Mazurkevich.

CORRECTION: This story previously misattributed why Trump's administration put Iran "on notice." It has also been updated to reflect the disagreement between various outlets' reporting regarding whether an American flag was burned at the protest.


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