by WorldTribune Staff, November 18, 2019
The White House on Sunday condemned the Iranian regime for using “lethal force” against demonstrators during escalating protests that erupted after Iranian officials announced an increase in gas prices. At least two people have been killed in the protests and according to news reports Internet access has been heavily suppressed.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: “As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you.”
A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned Pompeo’s statement supporting the protests in Iran.
In a statement quoted by the Iranian Mehr news agency, the spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, described Pompeo’s remarks as “meddlesome”.
“The noble Iranian nation is well aware that the U.S. Secretary of State’s hypocritical sympathy with a number of rioters in the country was not based on honesty, adding that the misconduct of a number of people who engage in sabotage have nothing to do with the way that the majority of the vigilant and insightful Iranian people behave,” Mousavi said.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “The United States supports the Iranian people in their peaceful protests against the regime that is supposed to lead them. We condemn the lethal force and severe communications restrictions used against demonstrators.”
Iranian authorities arrested dozens of protesters and also restricted Internet access.
Artuz Sheva reported that the unrest erupted on Friday, hours after it was announced that the price of gas would rise to 15,000 rials per liter (12 U.S. cents) from 10,000 for the first 60 liters, and to 30,000 rials for any extra fuel bought after that each month.
On Sunday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed support for the increases in gas and fuel prices, saying the protests against the move were encouraged by Iran’s enemies.
Iran’s economy has been devastated since May last year when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear agreement.
As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you. https://t.co/D972wPyLxm
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 16, 2019