US supporting 'brave people' of Iran fighting for 'freedom', says Trump

Washington DC [USA], Dec 4 (ANI): Hours after saying that Washington does not support the protestors in Iran, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday clarified that his country backs the demonstrators in the Middle East country who are protesting against the hike in fuel prices.

"The United States of America supports the brave people of Iran who are protesting for their FREEDOM. We have under the Trump Administration, and always will," he tweeted.

Trump's clarification came after he was asked about the ongoing protests in Iran, during his bilateral meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London.

"I don't want to comment on that, but the answer is no," Trump was quoted by The Hill as saying when asked if the US supports the Iranian protestors.

The comment sparked uncertainty and confusion whether Trump had misinterpreted the question, given the fact that his administration had previously condemned the Iranian leadership for its crackdown on the agitators.

Trump described the unrest in the Middle East country as "massive" and said that Tehran was "killing a lot of people".

"They have massive riots. They are having protests all over the country. They are killing a lot of people. Everyone knows that and that is why they turned off their internet system, so nobody can find out," he said.

The protests in Iran began last month after the government announced an increase in gas prices, leading to discontent among the people. Since then, citizens have taken to the streets and are calling for the removal of leaders.

Last week, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington backs the Iranian protestors and condemned Tehran's call to snap internet access in various parts of the country.

"The United States hears you, we support you, and we will continue to stand with you in your struggle for a brighter future for your people and for your great nation," Pompeo had said.

The protests in Iran are widely seen as economic discontentment gripping the Middle East ever since the Trump administration took a hardline stance against Tehran.

In May last year, Trump announced the US' withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), which granted sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. Since then, his administration has slapped a multitude of sanctions targetting the Iranian economy and some of its leaders. (ANI)