TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran’s government spokesman dismissed on Monday tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump voicing support for protesters, saying the Iranian people would remember he assassinated a top general and was the reason many were facing economic challenges.
Trump, who praised the "great Iranian people” in tweets in Farsi and English, was shedding "crocodile tears” when voicing concern for Iranians, Ali Rabiei said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi also called Trump’s bluff on expressing support for Iranian protesters just after he threatened to attack their cultural heritage, asking the U.S. president not to defile the Persian language.
"Hands and tongues smeared with threatening, sanctioning and terrorizing the #Iranian nation, are not entitled to dishonor the ancient #Persian_language,” Mousavi tweeted.
Trump’s tweet came after dozens of people protested outside a university in downtown Tehran to denounce officials’ belated confirmation of a Ukrainian passenger plane unintentionally downed outside the Iranian capital.
"To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve 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,” wrote Trump.
The U.S. president had uncharacteristically remained silent as several million Iranians took to streets for days to honor General Qassem Soleimani who was assassinated on Trump’s order in Baghdad.
"By the way, are you actually "stand ing by” millions of Iranians whose hero you just assassinated
or "standing against” them?!” Mousavi asked.
Trump’s reference to the suffering of the Iranian people was also ironical because it has largely been caused by his most draconian sanctions on the country.
On Friday, his administration announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s construction, manufacturing, textiles, mining, aluminum, copper, iron and steel industries.
Apart from threatening to attack sites "very important” to the Iranian culture, the U.S. president has described Iran as a "terrorist nation” and outraged Iranians by referring to the Persian Gulf as "Arabian”.
Trump’s tweet in Farsi also drew denunciation from Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Abbas Salehi.
"The Farsi language is a symbol of the Iranian culture. Until yesterday, the repeated threat of Iranian cultural sites and today dialogue with Iranians in Persian!” he tweeted.
Iran summoned the Swiss envoy representing U.S. interests in Tehran this month to protest against Trump saying Washington would target Iranian sites if Tehran attacked Americans.
Trump wrote in a series of tweets that "if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites ... some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”
The U.S. president’s appeal to protesters came after Iran defied those threats and made good on its promise to hit two American military bases in Iraq with a volley of ballistic missiles.
On Sunday, the Trump administration tried to stoke up and amplify protests in Iran by suggesting that the Islamic Republic was under internal threat.
The tearing up of the pictures of Gen. Soleimani has shocked many Iranians and raised question marks about the instantaneous protest which came while the nation was mourning its national hero and celebrating Iran’s retaliation.