WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the US is watching as mass demonstrations persist throughout Iran’s major population centers.
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian reg-ime,” Trump tweeted. “All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”
Trump was apparently referring to sanctions relief given to Iran as part of an international deal with world powers to curb its nuclear program, as well as a cash payout provided to Iran under the Barack Obama administration.
Thousands of Iranians hit the streets beginning Thursday in the northeastern cities of Mashhad and Kashmar to protest rising commodity prices and perceived government mismanagement, according to local media reports. The demonstrations have since spread, including to the capital Tehran.
At least 23 people have been killed and more than 500 reportedly detained in the six days of demonstrations.
In addition, approximately 400 people have been detained, including 200 in Tehran. The other arrests were reported in Arak, Isfahan and Robat Karim and West Azerbaijan province.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the unrest on foreign powers whom he called the “enemies of Iran. “In recent events, the enemies of Iran united by using different tools in their disposition, including money, weapons, politics and intelligence, in order to create problems for the Islamic system,” Khamenei said Tuesday in comments posted to his official website.