TEHRAN – President Donald Trump should focus on dealing with poverty, hunger and gun violence in the United States rather than meddling in the internal affairs of Iran and other nations, the Iranian government said on Tuesday.
Reacting to Trump’s latest tweet on protests in Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi condemned both the tone and the content of the US president’s message.
“Instead of wasting his time on posting useless and insulting tweets about other nations and countries, Trump had better address his country’s domestic affairs and issues such as the daily killings of dozens of people in armed clashes and shootings in various US states as well as the existence of millions of homeless and hungry in his own country,” Qasemi said in a statement.
Iranians “are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets’,” he also wrote.
The money that Obama “gave” Iran was actually Iranian funds frozen for decades by US authorities as part of the sanctions regime that officially ended following the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers.
Trump, who has been tweeting about the situation in Iran for several days, said Monday that it was “time for change” in the country.
Demonstrations against rising prices and corruption began Thursday in several Iranian cities, with slogans against the regime and clashes between demonstrators and security forces that have claimed the lives of 20 people so far, with at least 450 detainees in Tehran alone and some 1,000 arrested nationwide.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday blamed the situation on the enemies of the Islamic Republic, while the Iranian parliament accused the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia of a role in stirring up unrest.
Iranian authorities increased the severity of charges and penalties anti-government protesters are to face going forward, mandating the death penalty for some offenses.