Cotton has also never been a proponent of police reform, or even peaceful protest. The current protests in Iran have been . by many to the 2020 racial justice protests in the United States following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In both cases, protesters were shocked by police brutality and were calling for change. During the height of the protests in the United States in 2020, the Republican senator from Arkansas published an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “Send in the Military”, advocating a military response to quell the protests.
But that hasn’t stopped some from praising his response to the protests in Iran this week. An Instagram post of his statement. translated into Persian by Iran International garnered over 100,000 likes as of Thursday afternoon. At the time of Cotton’s statement, many Democratic officials, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and many members of the House progressive group known as the “Squad “They hadn’t said anything about Iran yet. (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the only team member to say anything, calling for solidarity with protesters in a instagram stories Wednesday afternoon).
On Thursday, nearly a week after Amini’s death, the Treasury Department sanctioned Iran’s “morality police” as well as seven leaders of Iranian security organizations that it said “routinely use violence to crack down on peaceful protesters and members of Iranian civil society, dissidents, women’s rights activists and members of the Iranian Baha’i community.” (It is not clear why the morality police were not sanctioned before this, given the wide scope of US sanctions against Iran.)