The White House condemned the use of “lethal force” targeting Iranian protestors who have been holding demonstrations against gasoline price hikes in recent days.
The White House released a statement Sunday saying, “The United States supports the Iranian people in their peaceful protests against the regime that is supposed to lead them. We condemn the lethal force and severe communications restrictions used against demonstrators.”
The statement continues, “Tehran has fanatically pursued nuclear weapons and missile programs, and supported terrorism, turning a proud nation into another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks on a crusade for personal power and riches.”
BBC reports at least 12 people have been killed, while the Iranian regime claims three have died, in connection with the protests which first erupted just days ago in response to a 50% fuel price increase.
Some clashes have become violent as people have taken to the streets in Tehran while also abandoning their cars to protest the move.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani weighed in on the chaos on Sunday calling the protestors “thugs” after buildings were destroyed and even in some cases burned down.
Despite public backlash, Rouhani claims the decision was made to redistribute wealth and help those feeling the effects of Iran’s starved economy.
The currency has plummeted and the economy has tumbled into a downward spiral since President Trump pulled the U.S. from the 2015 Nuclear Deal last year, and imposed sanctions on Tehran.
In response, oil exports have fallen and the currency value has also declined as a result.
Despite these reports, the deal’s European signatories have scrambled in an attempt to keep the deal in force.
It remains unclear what the status of the unrest is now, since the Islamic Republic essentially shut down a majority of the internet in an effort to mitigate the unrest.