LONDON (AP) –
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he supports the demonstrations in Iran and urged the world to watch the Iranian government’s violent effort to quash protests that he says have killed â€œthousands of people.â€
Speaking in London, where he is attending the NATO leaders summit, Trump said, â€œIran is killing thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak.”
He added they were killed â€œfor the mere fact that they’re protesting,â€ and he called it a â€œterrible thing.â€
Trump was mum on what, if anything, the U.S. could do in response to the violence, but he said, â€œI think the world has to be watching.”
Later, during a meeting, Trump misheard a question when he said he did not support the protesters. The president also sent out a tweet that said: “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!”
Amnesty International said on Monday it believes at least 208 people were killed in the protests and the crackdown that followed. Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged for the first time that security forces shot and killed what it described as â€œriotersâ€ in multiple cities amid recent protests over the spike in government-set gasoline prices.
The protests are viewed as a reflection of widespread economic discontent gripping the country since Trump reimposed nuclear sanctions on Iran last year.
Trump encouraged reporters â€œto get in there and see what’s going on,â€ noting that the Iranian government has curtailed internet access to limit the spread of information about the violence.