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Trump clarifies support for Iranian protestors after giving confusing answer to a reporter

'We support them very, very seriously, the people that are protesting in Iran'

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump clarified his administration's position on protestors in Iran after an answer he gave to a reporter left many with the impression that he didn't support their efforts.

"The United States of America supports the brave people of Iran who are protesting for their FREEDOM," the president tweeted on Tuesday while attending a NATO summit in London. "We have under the Trump Administration, and always will!"

The clarification came shortly after Trump — while at an appearance with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, was asked whether or not he supported the protestors in Iran. "I don't want to comment on that, but the answer is no," the U.S. president responded. "But I don't want to comment."

Shortly thereafter, at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump clarified his earlier Iran remarks, saying that he thought the question was about financial support:

"A question was asked just a little while ago about supporting the people in Iran and are going through a very tough period and we do support them totally and have supported them from the beginning. The question was asked, 'Do we support them?' I thought financially, and we haven't supported them [financially]. I don't know that we've ever been actually asked us to support them financially. And, you know, if somebody asks, maybe we would. But we support them very, very seriously, the people that are protesting in Iran; they're looking for their freedom and we are fully in support of them."

The protests in Iran began late last month after the country's government announced fuel rationing and cost hikes. On Monday, Amnesty international estimated the death toll of the regime's violent crackdown in the hundreds. "This alarming death toll is further evidence that Iran's security forces went on a horrific killing spree that left at least 208 people dead in less than a week," reads a statement from Amnesty International research and advocacy director for the Middle East Philip Luther released with the organization's findings. On Tuesday, Iranian state TV admitted that security forces has shot and killed what they called "rioters" in multiple cities.

Shortly after the protests began, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put out a statement telling the protesters that "the United States is with you." Days later, the administration announced sanctions against Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, "the Iranian official who helped shut down the internet for the Iranian people" during the early days of the demonstration. Pompeo announced last week that "more sanctions are coming."

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