It has become almost routine now for President Joe Biden to say one thing during a speech or remarks to reporters, only for his utterances to be reversed or walked back almost immediately by the White House.
That happened again this week when Biden seemingly pledged to “free Iran” and a senior White House official was compelled to inform reporters that U.S. policy toward Iran, in fact, had not changed, the Washington Examiner reported.
The remark from Biden came as an unscripted comment in the context of the still-ongoing mass protests in cities across Iran by people outraged over a young woman named Mahsa Amini who had died in the custody of the oppressive regime’s “morality police” for allegedly failing to properly wear a required head covering.
Biden appears to suggest U.S. action to “free Iran” from repressive regime
President Biden was in San Diego, California to deliver a speech in support of the re-election of Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) that was repeatedly punctuated by audible interruptions from members of the audience, some of whom held up signs or cell phones with messages on them.
About midway through the speech, some audience members held up phones that read “Free Iran” which happened to catch Biden’s attention and prompt a response that almost certainly was not scripted into his prepared remarks for the event.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to free Iran,” Biden said. “They’re going to free themselves pretty soon — I see that.”
Biden simply “expressing our solidarity” with Iranian protesters
However, that assertion from the president that “we’re going to free Iran” was almost immediately walked back by John Kirby, chief spokesman for the White House National Security Council, according to the Examiner, who told reporters, “The president was expressing our solidarity with the protesters, as he’s been doing, quite frankly, from the very outset.”
“It’s going to be — and it should be — up to the people of Iran to determine their future. And that hasn’t changed,” he continued.
“Iran’s leadership — they’re facing problems of their own making,” Kirby added. “And what we’re going to do — and again, the president’s been pretty clear about this — is we’re going to continue to look for ways to hold the regime accountable for the way that they’re treating their own people.”
Clean-up duty for Kirby
Kirby offered up a similar clarification during an interview Friday with VOA News in which he was asked to address President Biden’s off-the-cuff remarks about freeing Iran, and said, “What he was signaling was our solidarity with the protesters in Iran. And he’s been doing that from the outset.”
“I mean, right from the well of the U.N., made it clear that we stand in solidarity with these Iranian protesters as they try to fight for their basic human rights, and for what a woman can wear or not wear,” continued. “The Iranian leadership is dealing with problems of its own making. But ultimately, the future of Iran should belong to the Iranian people.”
Pressed on whether the president had signaled a change in policy or simply misspoke, Kirby reiterated, “The president was speaking very plainly, as he has, about how much we stand in solidarity with the Iranian protesters. But as I said, the future of Iran should belong to the Iranian people.”