Trump tweets supportive message for Iranian protesters
US President Donald Trump has tweeted a message in support of the Iranians protesting government’s handling the Ukrainian plane crash which happened on Wednesday.
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A protest was held in front of the Amir Kabir University in downtown Tehran on Saturday after Iranian armed forces headquarters issued a statement clarifying circumstances surrounding the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines plane on January 8 which killed 176 people on board.
The statement said the Boeing 737-800, on its way to Kiev and ultimately bound for Canada’s Toronto, had been shot down accidentally hours after Iran fired missiles at two American military bases in neighboring Iraq early on Wednesday.
Trump was quick to take to Twitter on Saturday, saying in both Farsi and English that his “administration will continue to stand with” the protesters.
To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage.
One twitterer responded by saying that Trump cannot claim to support Iranians after he had imposed sanctions targeting them.
Another one said that a president directly speaking to a nation shows "he is encouraging demonstrations and other destabilizing activity."
A Twitter user spoke of her friend who was ill and died because of Trump's boycott on drugs, calling on the US to leave the Middle East.
John Pavlovitz, an author, reacted by saying that Iranians and Americans believe Trump is "a global moral cancer."
Tim Anderson, a writer and an internationalist, called Trump's remarks "fake crocodile tears," saying, he has imposed sanctions on Iran and after assassinating their country's top general, threatened to destroy Iran's cultural heritage.
Last week, Trump claimed that his military would hit “very important” targets related to Iran if the Iranians want to take a retaliatory action against the US for the assassination of a senior military commander.
“We have ... targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran” said Trump in a Saturday tweet while making a reference to the occupation of the former US embassy in Tehran in 1979.
The threat came after Iranian authorities said they would show a harsh response to the US strikes that killed Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force, and a number of Iraqi anti-terror fighters, in Baghdad early January 3.
Meanwhile, during the protests in Tehran on Saturday, British ambassador Robert Macaire was arrested while trying to foment unrest in the streets of the capital.
In a tweet, the semi-official Tasnim news agency, said he had been detained “for organizing suspicious movements and protests in front of Amir Kabir University but released after hours”.
It is believed that he would be summoned by Iran's Foreign Ministry.
Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign secretary, said the arrest was a “flagrant violation of international law.’’