Pelosi Downplays Iranian Protests, Suggests Protesters Demonstrating Against U.S
House speaker says protesters are there for 'diverse reasons'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed Iranian protesters uprising against their national leaders, suggesting that the citizens who took to the streets were there for 'diverse reasons' including support for slain terror-military commander Qasem Soleimani.
But the House speaker's remarks did not match up with videos that showed thousands of protesters rising up in defiance of their brutal regime, demanding a change in leadership.
The streets of Tehran were flooded with demonstrators calling for Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini to quit, with protesters heard chanting that their leaders are "the enemy" and not the United States.
The videos are in contrast to reports of citizens being forced to participate in a state-orchestrated funeral for Iran's slain terror chief Gen. Qassam Soleimani.
Pelosi said, "there were protesters in the street, joined together, as you know, against us. That wasn’t good.
"Taking down this plane is a terrible, terrible tragedy."
"There are different reasons why people are in the street," the House speaker added.
Iran initially denied claims that it had shot the plane down, but later admitted it was done in error.
Late this week, activists posted images online of what appeared to be the remnants of a rocket near the crash site.
At the same time, a separate video was discovered that showed an Iranian anti-aircraft missile strike the plane before it crashed.
Obama Granted Amnesty to Terrorist Soleimani as Part of Iran Deal | Neon Nettle https://t.co/ruLojs6JQw— Montgomery Granger (@mjgranger1) January 9, 2020
Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, released statements Saturday morning, admitting to shooting down the plane "accidentally."
The leader claimed "human error" was to blame while implying that President Donald Trump and the US Government was responsible.
A partial transcript of the interview Pelosi is as follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The question is how we get there. We’re seeing now demonstrations in the streets of Iran against the regime. Do you support those protesters, and would it be a good thing if they brought the regime down?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Well, the regime — the protesters are — are protesting, as I understand it, this brand of protesters, about the fact that that plane went down. And many students were on that plane. And these are largely students in the street. I think the Iranians should have not had commercial flights going off when there was—
STEPHANOPOULOS: They’re calling out the regime for lying. They’re saying death to Khomeini as well.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes. Well, whatever it is. But the fact is this, the — there were protesters in the streets before against the regime. After the taking out of Soleimani, there were protesters in the street, joined together, as you know, against us. That wasn’t good. Taking down this plane is a terrible, terrible tragedy. And they should be held accountable for letting commercial flights go at a time that was so, so dangerous. But there are different reasons why people are in the street. Of course, we would love to see the aspirations of the people of Iran realized with a better situation there, but escalating the situation — unless we’ve exhausted every other remedy —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Which we haven’t?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, we don’t know that. We don’t know that. And if the first — the first action to be taken on the threat of — there — there are — a lot of bad actors who are doing bad things and threatening bad things to us. We know that. Iran being one of them. And it being a — it’s proxies doing bad things to our interests throughout the world. But how do we deal with that in a way that calms rather than escalates?