Iran tells US to 'stop violence' against Americans: 'Let them breathe'

Iran tells US to 'stop violence' against Americans: 'Let them breathe'
© JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images

The Iranian foreign ministry is calling on U.S. officials to “stop violence” against Americans as protests erupt over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"To the American people: the world has heard your outcry over the state of oppression. The world is standing with you," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters in Tehran Monday, Al Jazeera reported.

Mousavi called on American officials and police to “stop violence against your people and let them breathe." 

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"We deeply regret to see the American people, who peacefully seek respect and no more violence, being suppressed indiscriminately and met with utmost violence," Mousavi told reporters, Al Jazeera reported. 

Floyd died last week in police custody after an officer was seen on video kneeling on his neck. An independent autopsy found the Floyd died of "asphyxia due to neck and back compression," and the Hennepin County, Minn., medical examiner ruled his death a homicide Monday.

The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, was fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter last week. Three other officers were fired but have not been charged.

Protests have broken out in cities across the country over Floyd’s death. Some have remained peaceful, while others have turned violent, resulting in rioting and looting. Multiple cities have imposed curfews and called in the National Guard.

U.S. officials have previously denounced Iranian leadership after deadly violence broke out in the country in November during protests sparked by a sharp rise in fuel costs. A senior Iranian lawmaker said Monday that 230 people were killed in the protests, according to Al Jazeera, although estimates by the U.S. and international groups have estimated that the death toll was higher.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington became significantly worse after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE left the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling economic sanctions.

In January, the U.S. conducted a drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.

Days later, Iran launched a retaliatory missile strike on Iraqi bases housing U.S military personnel.