Trump tweets 'US is watching' as deadly anti-government protests continue in Iran

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Associated Press

President Donald Trump says the people of Iran are "finally acting against the brutal and corrupt" government.

Trump tweeted overnight that the Iranian people have "little food, big inflation and no human rights." He adds: "The US is watching."

It was Trump's latest comment on the largest anti-government demonstrations in Iran since its disputed 2009 election.

The demonstrations, began Thursday in Mashhad over economic issues and have since expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

Trump's tweet came after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei overnight accused the "enemies of Iran" of meddling in the country's affairs.

US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump.

Source: Associated Press

Iranian state television is reporting that nine people have been killed yesterday amid nationwide protests and unrest.

The report puts the death toll in six days of demonstrations to at least 20 people.

Trump tweeted that "all of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their 'pockets,'" referring to the global deal that removed some economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. Trump opposes that deal.

US calls for Iran to unblock social media sites

The Trump administration is calling on Iran's government to stop blocking Instagram and other popular social media sites.

US Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein says the United States wants Iran to "open these sites." He says Instagram, Telegram and other platforms are "legitimate avenues for communication."

The United States is encouraging Iranians to use virtual private networks, known as VPNs. Those services create encrypted links between computers and can be used to access blocked websites.

Goldstein says the U  is still communicating with Iranians in Farsi through State Department accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. He says the US wants to "encourage the protesters to continue to fight for what's right."

Goldstein says the US has an "obligation not to stand by."

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