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The White House stops short of calling for government overthrow in Iran

University students attend an anti-government protest at Tehran University on Dec. 30, 2017. (AP)
University students attend an anti-government protest at Tehran University on Dec. 30, 2017. (AP)

President Trump wants Iran to give its citizens “basic human rights” and “stop being a state sponsor of terror,” his top spokeswoman said, but the White House stopped short of calling for a change of government in Tehran.

“If they want to do that through current leadership, if that's possible, OK,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

Sanders praised the “organic popular uprising,” which she said the widespread protests in Iran represented. The protests grew out of years of “years of mismanagement, corruption, and foreign adventurism have eroded the Iranian people's trust in their leaders,” she said.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump called Iran’s government “brutal and corrupt” and wrote in a tweet: “The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”

Trump also blamed President Obama for “foolishly” giving Iran money that he said went to fund terrorism. The money he referred to were funds belonging to Iran that had been frozen by the U.S. and were released as part of the deal in 2015, which blocked Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. 

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