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Trump Warns Tehran: No ‘Massacre’ of Protesters Angered over Downed Plane
Iranian students demonstrate following a tribute for the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 in front of the Amirkabir University in the capital Tehran, on January 11, 2020. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump Warns Tehran: No ‘Massacre’ of Protesters Angered over Downed Plane

US President Donald Trump has warned Iran against implementing a violent crackdown against civilians who took to the streets of Tehran Saturday night to protest last Wednesday’s downing of a Ukrainian-operated passenger jet. “The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people,” Trump tweeted in both English and Farsi. “There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown,” the US president added in reference to anti-government demonstrations that erupted in some 100 Iranian cities in November. In response, Iranian security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown that reportedly killed at least 1,500 people and resulted in the imprisonment of some 7,000 others. Videos posted to social media overnight between Saturday and Sunday allegedly showed police firing tear gas at protesters who, according to media, were chanting slogans such as “Shame on you [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei” and “Death to the liars.” Iran initially attributed the commercial airliner’s crash to a mechanical failure but eventually conceded that it was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps aerospace division after being mistakenly identified as a cruise missile. Tehran has been accused of attempting to cover up the disaster that killed 176 people and came in the immediate aftermath of a coordinated ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases housing US soldiers.

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