WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump accused Iran on Sunday of “closing down” the Internet in an attempt to end anti-government protests that have been staged since late last week.
He also accused the Tehran regime of committing “numerous” human rights violations “on an hourly basis.”
“Iran, the Number One State of Sponsored Terror with numerous violations of Human Rights occurring on an hourly basis, has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!” wrote Trump on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
The president commented hours after Iranian authorities completely cut off access to the social networks after anti-government demonstrations in several cities around the Persian nation.
The protests are the largest anti-government outburst since 2009, when Tehran authorities crushed a popular uprising following a disputed presidential election.
Iranian Deputy Interior Minister for political affairs, Esmail Yabarzade said that “when there is a conflict, the use of some tools to control illegal gatherings is natural,” as reported by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
On Sunday morning, Trump warned that his government is on the alert for any human rights violations that could occur within the context of the protests in Iran, adding that the Iranian people are fed up with the fact that their money is being used to finance terrorism.
“Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer,” said Trump on Twitter.
“The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!” he added.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in different Iranian cities since last Thursday to protest the economic policy of the Hassan Rohani government, the cost of living and corruption.
Trump had warned on Saturday that the world “is watching” what is happening in Iran, noting that “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice.”
On Friday, Trump had also blamed the protests in Iran on “Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad.”
“Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves,” he had tweeted.
The Iranian government on Saturday called upon its citizens not to participate in unauthorized demonstrations, which are proceeding amid heightened security and in which two people have died.