President Donald Trump on Monday praised Iranian student demonstrators who refused to trample on the American flag during a protest at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.
“Wow! The wonderful Iranian protesters refused to step on, or in any way denigrate, our Great American Flag,” Trump tweeted. “It was put on the street in order for them to trample it, and they walked around it instead. Big progress!”
A video of the incident went viral on Sunday via a tweet by popular social media activist and dissident @mamlekate, accompanied by the text: “Today, the crowd in an Iranian university refused to trample US and Israel flag #LoveBeyondFlags. These IR ideologies, like forced hijab, are falling one by one.”
Trampling or burning US or Israeli flags is a common method of incitement used by the Tehran regime. The students’ refusal to do so is in keeping with recent demonstrations, which have called for the ouster of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, among other demands and grievances.
Trump had previously praised the demonstrators, saying in an official message in Persian, “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you.”
“We are following your protests closely,” the president added. “Your courage is inspiring.”
Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, tweeted of the flag video, “These same Iranian students are often shocked when they continue their studies in the West and encounter professors who praise the Iranian regime’s hatred of America and opposition to Israel’s existence.”
“Anti-imperialism is most fun when you don’t have to live under it,” he asserted.
Saeed Ghasseminejad, a senior adviser and financial economist at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted, “This tweet by @realDonaldTrump with more than 100k likes is already the most liked Persian tweet in the history of Twitter.”
“A strong show of support by Iranians for Trump’s Iran policy, something the MSM does not and will not report,” he said.
The media monitoring group MEMRI tweeted a second video of the incident, and noted the students were booing those who did tread on the flags, shouting, “You have no honor!”