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After protests with the MEK Freedom Movement took to the streets in Tehran to protest against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, President Donald Trump tweeted a message of support in the Persian language and in Arabic script.
“To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring,” Trump tweeted, according to Twitter’s English translation.
Protesters gathered to oppose Khamenei and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) after the regime admitted that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing more than 176 people. Iran shot down the jet in a crossfire after shooting off missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in a show of revenge after a Trump airstrike killed IRGC and Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani. The Soleimani strike was itself partially a retaliation after Iran-backed militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“Protests erupt against the Revolutionary Guards at Amir-Kabir University in Tehran due to authorities’ incompetence and negligence after the recent plane crash that killed more than 176 people,” Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad reported on Twitter. “Some people had claimed Iranians were united after [Soleimani]’s death. Think again.”
M. Hanif Jazayeri, an Iranian journalist based in Britain, shared many videos of the protest, including one which showed protesters chanting, “Death to Khamenei!”
Iran has arguably been in a state of war with the U.S. since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Khamenei and his predecessor Khomenei demonized the U.S. as “The Great Satan” and led their people in chanting “Death to America!” Soleimani led the regime’s terror efforts in the Middle East, and the U.S. government considers him responsible for the deaths of more than 600 U.S. troops.
Trump’s message of support for the protesters in Persian is consistent with U.S. policy against the Islamic Republic and its terrorist activity and funding in the Middle East.