Trump praises 'wonderful Iranian protesters' over footage showing them not stepping on US flag

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE offered words of praise on Monday for Iranian protesters after footage of students appearing to refuse to step on U.S. or Israeli flags went viral.

In a tweet, the president thanked "wonderful" demonstrators in Iran for the apparent pro-U.S. gesture, which comes as tensions between Washington and Tehran were dialed back after coming to the brink of armed conflict.

"Wow! The wonderful Iranian protesters refused to step on, or in any way denigrate, our Great American Flag. It was put on the street in order for them to trample it, and they walked around it instead. Big progress!" he said.

His tweet, which did not directly reference any reports, appeared to refer to a viral tweet from an Iranian journalist, Masih Alinejad, who tweeted a video of student demonstrators on Sunday. Alinejad urged viewers to "[w]atch how Iranian students refuse to step on American flag and the flag of Israel."

ADVERTISEMENT

"This should embarrassed Iranian regime & their propaganda funeral for #Soleimani where people were told to chant 'Death To America'. Now people in Iran chanting 'Death to Islamic Republic dictatorship,'" Alinejad tweeted.

Iranian protesters have swarmed the streets of Tehran and other cities after Iran admitted that it downed a Ukrainian jetliner after initially denying responsibility. 

The jetliner was shot down last week after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. military personnel in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran's Quds forces, in Iraq.