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State Dept issues statement on protests against Iranian gov't - here's what it said

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement in support of protesters who were demonstrating against the Iranian government. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Days after protests against the Iranian government have sprung up, the U.S. State Department issued a statement of support for protesters Friday.

What did the statement say?

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert posted a statement about the protests from her official Twitter account.

"U.S. strongly condemns arrest of peaceful protestors in #Iran, urges all nations to publicly support Iranian people. As [the president] said, longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are Iran's own people," she tweeted.

"We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country," the statement read. "Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are Iran’s own people."

"The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters," the statement continued. "We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption."

"On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports 'those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.' The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people," the statement concluded.

What are the protests about?

Iranians are protesting because of the country's bad economy and high inflation. Protesters are reportedly chanting, "never mind Palestine, think about us," referring to the Iranian government's insistence on condemning Israel's actions in the West Bank while their own citizens suffer.

Other chants include "death or freedom" and "political prisoners should be freed."

Videos of the demonstrations have surfaced online despite police arrests.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) also posted a statement of support for the protesters, saying, "Important that we support the nonviolent protesters in #Iran. This is the result of a regime more focused on propping up terrorist organizations than addressing the plight of its citizens."

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