Donald Trump warned Iran on Sunday against killing protesters who have risen up over the regime’s downing of a civilian airliner as his defense secretary left the door open to talks with Tehran without preconditions.
Trump’s salvo came as Iran’s Islamic regime faced a challenge from angry street protests, having come to the brink of war with the US with a series of tit-for-tat confrontations.
To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
“To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” Trump tweeted, warning the world and “more importantly, the USA is watching.”
Later on Sunday, in another tweet, President Trump said he does not care if Iran agrees to negotiate with the US after a senior adviser earlier suggested the Islamic Republic would have no choice but to agree to talks.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told “Fox News Sunday” the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” was working, adding “Iran is being choked off, and Iran is going to have no other choice but to come to the table.”
In a Twitter post later on Sunday, Trump cited O’Brien’s interview and wrote: “Actually, I couldn’t care less if they negotiate. Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and ‘don’t kill your protesters.’“ A spokesman for O’Brien did not immediately comment.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells a vigil for some of those killed in an Iranian plane disaster that he will “pursue justice and accountability” for what happened.
National Security Adviser suggested today that sanctions & protests have Iran “choked off”, will force them to negotiate. Actually, I couldn’t care less if they negotiate. Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and “don’t kill your protesters.”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” just before the earlier tweet, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Trump was stilling willing to hold talks with Iran’s leaders.
“We’re willing to sit down and discuss without precondition a new way forward, a series of steps by which Iran becomes a more normal country,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”