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 TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe 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 - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today Ukraine, Russia agree to restart peace process Hillicon Valley: Amazon alleges Trump interfered in Pentagon contract to hurt Bezos | Federal council warns Trump of cyber threats to infrastructure | China to remove foreign technology from government offices 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 PompeoTrump administration imposes sanction on Saudi diplomat over Khashoggi killing Mulvaney: 'Politics can and should influence foreign policy' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today 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.