President Trump parroted his press secretary Friday evening, calling on the Iranian government to "respect" protesters in cities across Iran, who this week are demonstrating against deficient economic conditions and government policies and officials.
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
He sent the tweet from his West Palm Beach, Fla., resort, Mar-a-Lago, about two-and-a-half hours after his spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, issued virtually the same statement.
"There are many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad," Sanders said. "The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching."
Her statement followed that of the U.S. State Department, which said it "strongly condemns" the arrest of peaceful protesters.
Demonstrators gathered Thursday in several cities in groups that have been reported to be from less than a hundred to numbering in the thousands. According to the semi-official news agency Fars 52, protesters in the Mashhad were arrested. A small number of people were also arrested in the capital of Tehran, BBC reported.
In some cases, the protesters reportedly yelled slogans critical of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the country's powerful clerics.
"The people are begging, the clerics act like God," was one slogan, according to BBC. Some chants, which can be heard in social media posts, also called for the death of several of the country's leaders.
Other videos posted online showed what appeared to be violent crackdowns on protesters.
Videos of #Iranprotests crackdown surfacing. Regime unleashing #Basij militia. Woman gets pepper spray in her eyes.#Iran #اعتراضات_مردمی pic.twitter.com/HVWVBfaWKs— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) December 30, 2017
Trump recently addressed the U.S. Iran strategy during a speech in October, expressing his great dislike of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and called for changes that would permanently keep Tehran from building nuclear weapons and intercontinental weapons.
While Trump allowed the agreement to last through his first year in office, he called on Congress and U.S. allies to decide its fate moving forward.
“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said.