As protests in Iran continue to escalate in the wake of the country’s government admitting the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner on the night of the ballistic missile attack against Al Asad airbase, President Donald Trump offered a message of support to those angry over the situation with a tweet published entirely in Farsi.
According to The Hill, angry Iranians who mourned the lives of the 176 innocent people who died in the plane crash took to the streets over the weekend, shouting chants of “death to liars.” They even targeted Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with chants of “death to the dictator.”
Trump took to Twitter on Saturday evening with a message of support for the increasingly angry protesters, writing it in Farsi — the predominant language spoken in Iran.
“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.” the English translated version of Trump’s tweet read.
Roughly 20 minutes after the president posted the Farsi tweet, he followed up with a warning aimed at the Iranian government with regard to preventing the loss of life of protesters or the disconnection of internet communication, which has happened in the past.
“The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people,” Trump tweeted.
“There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opined on the developing situation earlier on Saturday, claiming that Iranian protesters were angry due to government corruption and the “brutality of the IRGC,” under Khamenei’s rule.
— Department of State (@StateDept) January 12, 2020
At the crux of the issue is the way Iran’s government handled the aftermath of the downing of Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752. Several of the country’s leaders strongly denied that the plane was shot down by surface-to-air missile systems, even though the plane’s crash mysteriously came just hours after Iran was presumably under its highest alert level after having attacked Al Asad airbase.
After evidence began to surface that the plane was, in fact, shot down as opposed to crashing due to mechanical error, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif admitted publicly days later that the shooting-down of the Kyiv-bound airliner was due to “human error” and not intentional.
The admission prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to offer an apology for the grave mistake, saying Iran “deeply regrets” the incident while offering support to the victims’ families.