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Updated On: Wednesday, 17 January 2018
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Trump Vows New Support for Iranian People

Content by: Voice of America

U.S. President Donald Trump promised new support for the Iranian people Wednesday, even as Iran's state media reported that tens of thousands of pro-government demonstrators staged rallies across the country after days of anti-government protests.

"Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government," Trump said in a Twitter comment. "You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!" It was not immediately clear what assistance Trump had in mind.

Iranian state television Wednesday showed video of crowds waving Iranian flags and chanting in support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Leader, we are ready," some chanted in the cities of Qom, Ahvaz, Kermanshah and elsewhere. Placards read, "Death to seditionists."

Official and semi-official media offered no new reports of anti-regime protests, which have claimed 21 lives in the last week.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the protests would end in a few days, a Turkish presidential source said.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Photo was released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader.Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Photo was released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader.

Blame game

Khamenei has blamed other governments for driving the anti-government protests that began last Thursday.

"In recent days, enemies of Iran used different tools, including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles for the Islamic Republic." Khamenei said in a televised statement Tuesday. He added that he would address the nation about the protests "when the time is right."

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, accused the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia of being behind the protests.

Trump has used several Twitter posts to express support for those protesting the Iranian government.

"The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime," he posted Tuesday. "All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their 'pockets.' The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!"

After Trump's comments, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said, "Instead of wasting his time sending useless and insulting tweets regarding other countries, he would be better off seeing to the domestic issues of his own country, such as daily killings of dozens of people...and the existence of millions of homeless and hungry people."

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a high level Security Council meeting.FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a high level Security Council meeting.

UN emergency session

The United States is calling for the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the Iranian protests. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the Iranian people "are crying out for freedom."

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made similar comments in an interview Tuesday with VOA.

"The Iranian people are expressing frustration, frustration about a regime that pays more attention to exporting terrorism than it does of meeting the needs of its own people," McMaster said.

WATCH: McMaster on Iran

General H.R. McMaster, National Security Adviser, Speaks on Iranplease wait
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