President Trump kicked off the new year praising the people of Iran for “acting against” the regime, while accusing former President Barack Obama of helping Tehran fund “terrorism.”
The spending on terror and proxy wars is part of what demonstrators are protesting.
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. 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 tweeted early Tuesday.
As Trump voices support for the protesters, his administration is also moving to isolate the regime further. The Trump administration is preparing to impose new sanctions on the regime if they attempt to use force to end the demonstrations. The potential new sanctions, first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by Fox News, would be imposed in response to human-rights violations.
"The world needs to see what's happening in Iran right now," White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday. "That's what freedom looks like. [Trump] doesn't want to remain silent, as too many people were silent in 2009."
The protests are the largest show of dissent since the Green Movement rallies of 2009. At the time, millions of demonstrators rallied in opposition to the controversial election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Trump has clashed with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in recent days as protests throughout the Islamic Republic continued, bringing the death toll to 12. The president also has continued to blast the Obama administration for its controversial nuclear deal.
“Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!” Trump tweeted early Monday.