14:06 GMT19 February 2020
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    Protests in response to Iran's downing of the Ukrainian jet began as peaceful demonstrations but quickly took a violent turn, as protesters demanded the resignation and prosecution of those responsible for the crash.

    US President Donald Trump has tweeted he and his administration are monitoring Saturday's protests in Iran "closely" and expressed support for the participants in the demonstrations in Tehran.

    The president posted the same tweet, this time in Persian, immediately afterwards.

    A peaceful gathering of hundreds of students outside the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran to honor those killed in the fatal Ukrainian plane crash in Iran resulted in a rally, with protesters demonstratively tearing the portrait of slain Gen. Qasem Soleimani, killed in the US targeted attack on 3 January.

    Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also praised the protests in Tehran, characterising Iran as "Khamenei's kleptocracy".

    It is not the first time the US administration has advocated for protests in Iran, as Washington has repeatedly blasted Tehran for what they perceive as an "oppressive and illegitimate regime" and called on other states to increase pressure on the nation.

    Pompeo said earlier that Iran must "fundamentally change its behaviour", otherwise, "it can watch its economy collapse".

    Iran says that the United States has been waging a targeted campaign against the nation, trying to intervene in its internal politics and isolate Iran in the region. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif also criticised the harsh sanctions the US has imposed on the country, saying that these policies affect both "friends and foes".

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    police, tweet, demonstrations, protesters, Tehran, Iran, United States
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