US condemns arrest of anti-government protesters in Iran

US condemns arrest of anti-government protesters in Iran
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The Trump administration is condemning the arrest of anti-government protesters in Iran and urging the international community to support their demands.

"There are many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday.

"The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching."

In a separate statement, the State Department said the U.S. "strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters."

“We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption," the statement continued.

“Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are Iran’s own people.”

 

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At least 50 people have been arrested after protests broke out this week in multiple major cities in western Iran, according to Reuters. Demonstrators reportedly gathered to protest rising prices in the country, alleged corruption in the government and Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts.

It's the first wave of mass protests in Iran in almost a decade. After the 2009 election, protesters gathered in the streets to challenge what they believed was a fraudulent vote that returned hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a new presidential term.

This story was updated at 8:12 p.m.