WASHINGTON: Donald Trump warned Iran Sunday against killing protesters who have risen up over the regime's downing of a civilian airliner as his defense secretary left the door open to talks with Tehran without preconditions.
Trump's salvo came as Iran's Islamic regime faced a challenge from angry street protests, having come to the brink of war with the US with a series of tit-for-tat confrontations.
"To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS," Trump tweeted, warning the world and "more importantly, the USA is watching."
To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
In an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation" just before the tweet, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Trump was stilling willing to hold talks with Iran's leaders.
"We're willing to sit down and discuss without precondition a new way forward, a series of steps by which Iran becomes a more normal country," Esper said.