President Trump issued a powerful warning on Sunday to Iran as leaders in Tehran were gearing up to deal with protesters who took to the streets after the government admitted to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet which contained Iranian civilians.
“To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” Trump tweeted. “Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching.”
He added: “Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”
Despite the clear warning, disturbing videos have emerged online Monday that show Iranian police and security forces raining live fire rounds upon demonstrators protesting the Islamic Republic in response to the country shooting down a passenger airline.
There was no immediate report in Iranian state-run media on the incident near Azadi, or Freedom, Square in Tehran, but, if true, could be seen as an act of defiance against President Trump’s warning to the regime against the use of deadly force.
Security forces were deployed in large numbers across the capital on Sunday in hopes of quelling demonstrations. Riot police in black uniforms and helmets massed in Vali-e Asr Square and at Tehran University and other landmarks as calls circulated for protests to be held later in the day.
Revolutionary Guard members patrolled the city on motorbikes and plainclothes security men were also out in force. People looked down as they walked briskly past police, hoping not to draw attention to themselves.
Videos were sent to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran and later verified by The Associated Press. They show a crowd of demonstrators fleeing as a tear gas canister landed among them. People cough and sputter while trying to escape the fumes, with one woman calling out in Farsi: “They fired tear gas at people! Azadi Square. Death to the dictator!”
Another video shows a woman being carried away in the aftermath as a blood trail can be seen on the ground. Those around her cry out that she has been shot by live ammunition in the leg.
“Oh my God, she’s bleeding nonstop!” one person shouts. Another shouts: “Bandage it!”
Photos and video after the incident show pools of blood on the sidewalk.
Hossein Rahimi, the head of the Tehran police, in a statement declined the accusations, claiming that the police “absolutely did not shoot” due to orders to show restraint.
One protester at Amir Kabir University in Tehran held up a banner that read, “F**K you & your mistake,” referring to Iran’s incidental downing of the passenger jet.
The banner also showed the names and photos of 16 students who died in the crash.
Crowds of students chanted for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to “let go of the country!” and also mentioned the deceased Soleimani, saying that he “was a murderer” and “his leader is too!”
Last November this tyrannical government took a similar sinister approach to protestors following a spike in gas prices. The government subsequently shut down internet access for days, making it difficult to gauge the scale of the protests and the subsequent crackdown, but Amnesty International later said more than 300 people were killed.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighed in on the protests, tweeting Saturday that the Iranian people have every right to be frustrated and deserve a brighter future.
“The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude and brutality of the IRGC under [Khamenei’s] kleptocracy,” he said.
This Iranian government has been adamantly defended by the American left who have insisted that Trump is wrong in all of this, making it clear to the world that they care more about seeing Trump fail than they do seeing an entire nation of innocent people be liberated from the dangerous oppression that Iran practices.