US President Donald Trump on Saturday said that the United States is 'closely following' the protests in Tehran that are held after the revelation of Iranian military's 'unintentional' downing of a Ukrainian plane last week, adding that humans rights groups should be allowed to 'report facts from ground' amid the ongoing situation.
"To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I have stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage," Trump wrote on Twitter.
"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. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching," the President added.
Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Iran on Saturday after Tehran admitted that it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people on board.
Thousands gathered outside the gates of Amir Kabir University, near the former US embassy in Tehran, to denounce the plane crash that the government blamed on human error and "US adventurism."
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed on Wednesday after takeoff from Tehran's airport. The crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops in retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
In a video posted on social media, protesters chanted for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted. "Death to the dictator," some chanted.
In one video, demonstrators chanted, "Khamenei have shame. Leave the country."
Iran had previously denied the US claims that the country had struck down the plane accidentally.
Iranian authorities are in possession of the two flight data recorders, also known as black boxes, which Ukrainian investigators got access to on Friday. However, they have yet to start examining the information but have said it included communications between the pilot and Tehran flight control.
The plane crash has further heightened international pressure on Iran after months of friction with the US and tit-for-tat attacks.
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