U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley finished out 2017 by tweeting statement for support for Iranians protesting their government.
In a formal statement from the former S.C. governor, Haley compared protesting Iranians to others living under “oppressive governments” in Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.
“In the New Year, our hopes and prayers are with the millions of people who are suffering terribly from oppressive governments in North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and, especially, in Iran, where the long-repressed Iranian people are now finding their voice,” Haley said in a statement posted by the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
“The Iranian government is being tested by its own citizens. We pray that freedom and human rights will carry the day.”
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A wave of protests about Iran’s weakening economy swept the Iranian capital of Tehran over the weekend, the largest protest against the Islamic Republic’s clerical government since the disputed 2009 presidential election.
Haley later re-tweeted the statement from her personal Twitter account.
South Carolina’s senior senator also criticized the response of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the protests.
“President Rouhani told other Iranian leaders these protests are ‘nothing,’ ” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, tweeted. “Tell that to the families of those who have been killed protesting against the oppressive Iranian government.”
At least 21 people have died across Iran as protesters have clashed with police, which Haley’s boss, President Donald Trump, said shows, “The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism.”
Trump also used the occasion to criticize the nuclear deal signed with the Iranian government by former President Barack Obama, saying, “All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ ”
Graham echoed Trump’s support for the protesters.
“As to President Trump and all those who love freedom, we should speak loudly in support of the Iranian people and punish their oppressors to the fullest extent possible,” Graham said.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hit back, accusing the protests of being the work of Iran’s foreign “enemies” like the United States.