Iran protests: Donald Trump warns 'oppressive regimes cannot endure forever' and touts US military power

The US President said Iran only fears the US military more than its own people 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Saturday 30 December 2017 20:23 GMT
Iranians chant slogans as they march in support of the government near the Imam Khomeini grand mosque in the capital Tehran on 30 December 2017
Iranians chant slogans as they march in support of the government near the Imam Khomeini grand mosque in the capital Tehran on 30 December 2017 (Getty)

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter again to comment on the ongoing protests in Iran, this time to warn that "oppressive regimes cannot endure forever."

He wrote that "the entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change" and touted that other than US military might, its people's will is what leaders in Iran feared the most.

Thousands have taken to the streets demanding an end to President Hassan Rouhani's term in office.

Mr Trump previously tweeted a call for the government to respect the wishes of its people and the White House issued a statement appearing to be in support of the Iranian people's "right to express themselves."

The US State Department also issued a statement about the largely peaceful protests: "Iran's leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos."

The State Department also said it "strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption."

The wave of spontaneous protests over Iran's weak economy has swept into the capital Tehran as well, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment.

The three days of protests - which began in the second-largest city of Mashhad, a holy site for Shiite pilgrims - thus far appear to be the largest demonstrations the country has seen since the disputed presidential election in 2009.

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State media broke its silence on the protests after Mr Trump began tweeting about them yesterday evening.

"Counterrevolution groups and foreign media are continuing their organised efforts to misuse the people's economic and livelihood problems and their legitimate demands to provide an opportunity for unlawful gatherings and possibly chaos," the state television station said.

Reports have suggested the protests began over the surging price of goods like poultry and eggs.

Fars, the semi-official news agency, reported that Qom, a city that is the world's foremost centre for Shiite Islamic scholarship and home to a major Shiite shrine, also saw protests.

In response to Mr Trump's tweets, the state-run IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying: "The noble Iranian nation never pays heed to the opportunist and hypocritical mottos chanted by the U.S. officials and their interfering allegations on domestic developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran."

In October, the US President announced he would not re-certify a nuclear deal signed by Iran and six world powers - a signature foreign policy achievement by predecessor President Barack Obama.

Despite the evidence provided by the United Nations on Tehran's compliance with the deal, Mr Trump said it was too lenient on Iran and that they had violated portions of it.

It opened the door for harsher economic sanctions to be placed on the country, the mitigation of which was a key inducement for Iran to comply with the historic deal.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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