On the same day President Donald Trump thanked the Islamic Republic for “a very fair negotiation” in the mutual release of prisoners, he accused Tehran of funding “violence, chaos and mayhem”.
At the annual conference of the Israeli-American Council, Trump addressed the participants Saturday night saying that “the greatest victims” of Iran’s policies “are its own people”.
Since imposing heavy economic sanctions on Iran in 2018 the Trump administration consistently argues that the Islamic Republic authorities are responsible for the hardship endured by people in Iran, by pursuing aggressive and expansionist policies.
Trump also spoke about the recent protests in Iran, sparked by economic grievances and turned into political unrest against the regime. "In recent weeks we've seen the Iranian people rising up to reclaim the noble destiny of their nation", Trump told the audience. He added, “the dictatorship” has killed “hundreds and hundreds and probably thousands of those people”. But in what seemed to be an expression of his personal belief, Trump said, “I believe thousands and thousands have been killed”.
He also reiterated support for Iranians. “America will always stand with the Iranian people for their righteous struggle for freedom”.
He also reassured his audience that he remains committed to the protection of Israel. “We must never allow a regime that chants ‘death to America or death to Israel, to obtain a nuclear weapon”.
By imposing sanctions on Iran Trump has demanded renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran’s ballistic missile program and its policies in the Middle East. Iran says if the sanctions are suspended it is willing to hold talks. So far, mediation efforts have failed to break the deadlock.