In publicly condemning Iran for its reaction to the protests of the past week, President Trump has repeatedly made reference to human rights concerns. Human rights is not an issue often mentioned by the administration.
The issue of Iran jailing protesters, and using force against some of them, is a concern that’s hardly unique to Iran, President Trump himself has provoked larger protests in Palestine, and Israel’s crackdown has involved similar mass arrests and several killings.
Countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia similarly have what would be fairly described as calamitous human rights records, but neither has faced serious criticism from President Trump either.
Of some 2,900 Tweets since taking office, human rights have been mentioned by President Trump all of four times. Every single mention was related to Iran. Though President Trump has long expressed interest in “confronting” Iran, it seems human rights concerns begin and end to the extent he can use them as a pretext to rail against the Iranian government.