Trump clarifies US support for Iranian protesters after confusion over previous comment

Trump clarifies US support for Iranian protesters after confusion over previous comment
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE on Tuesday clarified that the U.S. supports protesters in Iran shortly after he appeared to indicate otherwise during a meeting with French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Apple reportedly dropped plans to let iPhone users encrypt backups | Justices decline facial recognition case | Critics fear Facebook losing misinformation fight | Truce on French tech tax On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Trump at Davos warns Europe on trade | President boasts about US economy to global elite | Experts say Trump trade victories may yield little growth Trump at Davos sends warning shot to Europe on trade MORE.

"The United States of America supports the brave people of Iran who are protesting for their FREEDOM. We have under the Trump Administration, and always will!" Trump tweeted.

The clarification came after Trump sparked confusion during a meeting with Macron at a NATO gathering in London, where he was asked if the U.S. supports the Iranian protesters.

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"I don't want to comment on that, but the answer is no," Trump said. "But I don't want to comment on that."

The comment led to widespread uncertainty over whether the president misspoke or misinterpreted the question, given his administration's previous condemnation of Iran for its crackdown on protesters.

Trump himself spoke out earlier in the meeting with Macron about Iran's treatment of the protesters, claiming they were killing "a lot of people."

“They have massive riots, they’re having protests all over the country," Trump said. "And they’re killing a lot of people. Everyone knows that, that's why they turned off their internet system, so nobody can find out."

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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. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid MORE last week issued a statement of support for the Iranian protesters and condemned Iran's decision to shut off internet access in parts of the country.

"The United States hears you, we support you, and we will continue to stand with you in your struggle for a brighter future for your people and for your great nation," Pompeo said.

The Trump administration has taken a hard line against Iran, withdrawing from the Obama-era nuclear deal that granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Trump has imposed numerous sanctions in the time since pulling out of the deal, targeting the Iranian economy and some of its leaders.