President Donald Trump once again praised Iran’s anti-government protesters on Tuesday ― and the irony was not lost on many, given his administration’s repeated attempts to block Iranians from coming to the U.S.
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning. “The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”
But several people ― including Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations ― have called out Trump for being hypocritical. Although he claims to support everyday Iranians’ rights, his administration has spent the last year fighting in court to enforce a policy banning them from coming to the U.S.
Thousands of people across Iran have poured into the streets over the last week to protest the government and religious leadership. More than 20 people have died as law enforcement has cracked down on protesters speaking out against corruption and calling out economic and social issues in the conservative, religious country.
In one of his first tweets of the new year, the president declared his support for “the great Iranian people” and said they were “hungry for food & for freedom.”
The tweets came almost exactly a year after the Trump administration’s first immigration ban blocked Iranians and other people from largely Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. In the latest iteration of the ban ― which was announced in September and has since been mired in legal challenges ― citizens from eight nations, including Iran, are indefinitely banned from entering the U.S.