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Trump suggests Iran is killing 'thousands and thousands of people' in protests

President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE claimed Tuesday that Iran is killing "perhaps thousands and thousands" amid protests that have claimed the lives of more than 200 people according to Amnesty International. 

“Iran is killing perhaps thousands and thousands of people right now as we speak, that it why they cut off the internet so people can’t see what is going on,” Trump said while in London for a meeting of NATO leaders, according to Reuters

“Not just small numbers which are bad, big numbers which are really bad, and really big numbers," he said. "It is a terrible thing and the world has to be watching.” 

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The demonstrations began last month over an increase in gas prices, but protesters are now calling for the removal of leaders in Iran. 

Amnesty International reports that 208 people have been killed during the protests, but noted that the real figure is likely to be higher. It said that dozens of the deaths occurred in the Shahriar city in Tehran province. 

The group has said that victims of families have been told not to speak to media or hold funerals and that some have been forced to pay to have their relatives' bodies returned. 

The Associated Press noted that Iranian state television acknowledged on Tuesday that "rioters" were shot and killed in recent cities during the protests.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated since Trump pulled the U.S. out of an Obama-era nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. 

— This report was updated at 8:03 a.m.