- Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images
- President Donald Trump’s first two tweets of 2018 lashed out at two countries, threatening to cut aid to Pakistan and praising mass anti-government protests in Iran.
- The US’s relationship with Pakistan has reportedly deteriorated in recent months, and the Trump administration is considering withholding $255 million in aid it was set to dispense in August.
President Donald Trump kicked off 2018 by railing against Pakistan and Iran in two early-morning tweets Monday, accusing Pakistan of taking US aid while providing “safe haven” to terrorists.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” he wrote. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Washington’s relationship with Islamabad has deteriorated in recent months over the issue of cooperation in fighting terrorism, and the Trump administration has been weighing whether to withhold $255 million in aid that it had already delayed in sending since August, The New York Times reported on Friday.
The Trump administration was reportedly particularly frustrated by Pakistani officials’ refusal to hand over one of the militants responsible for abducting Caitlan Coleman, an American woman held captive for five years with her Canadian husband and children by the Haqqani network.
US officials had hoped the abductor could provide information about another American hostage, but Pakistani officials rejected US demands for access.
In another tweet early Monday, Trump lashed out at Iran and defended the protesters who have taken to the streets en masse in several cities since Thursday.
“Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & freedom,” he tweeted. “Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”
Since the protests began, hundreds of people have been arrested, the Iranian government has blocked access to the social-media apps Instagram and Telegram, and at least 12 people have died.