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 TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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 MacronThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran International leaders pledge nearly 0M in aid after Beirut explosion 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."

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

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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTurkey's search for oil may spill over into conflict with Greece The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris's first day as running mates Watchdog: Trump's UK envoy made inappropriate remarks on religion, race, sex 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.