Council on Foreign Relations member Qanta Ahmed weighed in on Sunday on the anti-government protests that had erupted at Iranian universities across the country on Saturday in response to Iran’s admission that it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane killing all 176 people on board, saying that she thinks “this regime, for the first time ever, is seriously threatened.”
Ahmed, a Muslim scholar, made the comment on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday adding that the regime “is in its most fragile and precarious time probably since 1979.”
“They’ve had a disastrous outcome to their attempt of intimidating the United States, their attempts on the embassy in Baghdad failed, they’ve had Qassem Soleimani [figuratively] decapitated, they had to admit that they shot down their own commercial airliner, killing hundreds of people, 83 Iranians, many Iranians have lost multiple family members,” she explained.
The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division had told state TV that his unit accepts “full responsibility” for shooting down the Ukrainian aircraft, just minutes after it took off from Tehran’s international airport on Wednesday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed “human error” in a tweet Friday, and called it a "great tragedy and unforgivable mistake."
Crowds of students chanted for the Revolutionary Guards to “let go of the country!” and also mentioned Soleimani, saying that he “was a murderer" and "his leader is too!” President Trump had ordered the drone strike on Solemani and declared the world a safer place following his death.
“I think the Iranians have to ask themselves what else have they [the regime] concealed,” Ahmed said Sunday responding to the Ukrainian passenger plane being shot down.
“It wasn't just the error. They denied it at first, then finally they're admitting it, now they want to know what other falsehoods have been fed.”
She added, “1500 people were killed in recent protests in Iran before the Qassem Soleimani execution, so they are finally able to voice what they’ve suspected all along and we must not ignore those voices.”
Trump tweeted a message of support to the protesters on Saturday, in both Farsi and English, promising that his administration would continue to stand with them in solidarity.
“President Trump made a wonderful statement on Twitter in Farsi, and in English, that the United States is with the people of Iran,” Ahmed noted on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
“We have no enmity with the people of Iran, but we do despise the Islamist Iranian, theocratic regime, which is a totalitarian regime. They’ve had that country for 41 years, shrouded, totally suffocated in oppression since then and I think we’re seeing that veil coming off.”
When asked if Iran will now come to the negotiating table Ahmed said, “I can't imagine it because the more they threaten the more Promethean their grip.”
“They would have to completely deny their origin, this regime,” She continued. “I do think this regime, for the first time ever, is seriously threatened. People are saying the United States is not our enemy, our regime is our enemy. Our enemy is not here in the U.S., it is here where we are in Tehran and that kind of explicit speech I’ve never encountered.”
Fox News’ Nick Givas contributed to this report.