Trump steps up rhetorical support for Iran protestors


President Donald Trump tried to ramp up pressure on Iran's "brutal and corrupt" regime amid a sixth day of anti-government protests on Tuesday, ignoring warnings that his intervention could backfire.

Trump demanded a snap UN Security Council meeting to debate unrest that has killed 21 people – mostly protestors – and fired off ever-harsher condemnations of the Islamic republic's rulers.

"The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime," Trump tweeted, setting the tone a fresh rhetorical blitz on America's old enemy in Tehran.

His top diplomat at the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley, used her public platform to recite protestors' slogans and declared that "the people of Iran are crying out for freedom."

From the White House podium, Sarah Sanders also took aim at the regime, accusing it of spending Iran's "wealth on spreading militancy and terror abroad, rather than ensuring prosperity at home."

"Prices for everyday staples and fuel are rising, while the Revolutionary Guard spend the nation's wealth on foreign militant groups and enrich themselves in the process."

Trump – flanked in the White House by a coterie of former generals who spent a career fighting Iranian proxies from Beirut to Baghdad – has taken a hard line against Iran since coming to office.

He has abandoned Obama-era diplomatic overtures and embraced allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia who are keen to confront Iran's growing regional power.

Much of Trump's response has focused on playing up perceived errors by the Obama administration, not least a deal that gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. (AFP)

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