Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen (ret.) sided with President Donald Trump on Sunday for his position on Iranian citizens protesting against their "regime’s corruption."
Mullen, who served under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s "This Week" that the Obama administration in 2009 chose not to be as supportive as it could have been in response to protests against the Iranian government.
The retired Navy admiral was asked by Raddatz if Trump's declarations of support for the Iranians protesting the country's hardline Islamic government reflected the best approach to the unrest.
"I think that the 2009 timeframe is very instructive," Mullen said. "I think we chose to not be as supportive as we could have been then. And I hope we can be right now so that Iran can continue to evolve."
The nationwide protests across the country began last week. Tuesday marks the sixth day of the uprise, which has speared from unrest over the rising price of food and other basic needs in the country. Meanwhile, Iran has received billions in cash and sanctions have been lifted under the Obama-era nuclear deal, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Iranian citizens fed up with the skyrocketing prices of food and other basic necessities in Iran have launched protests in several key Iranian cities, including Tehran, to express anger at the hardline government, which, despite receiving billions in cash windfalls as a result of the landmark nuclear deal, has done little to revive Iran's ailing economy.
While the Iranian regime has invested billions on advanced new weaponry and engaged in what Iranian leaders have described as a massive military buildup, the economic revival promised by the Obama administration and Iranian leaders who negotiated the nuclear deal has failed to materialize.
Mullen further commented on the causes of unrest in Iran.
"They have an incredibly young population," Mullen said. " They look to a future that they cannot see. They've been promised change and a healthier economy by the current government. And I think the protests represent the inability to deliver that so far."
"So, I think support of them and their people is absolutely the right thing to do," he added.
Trump first tweeted about the protests on Sunday, calling out Iran's leaders. "The people have little food, big inflation, and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!" he tweeted.
The president tweeted again Tuesday, adding that the "world is watching" to see how the Iranian government acts during the protests.
"Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching!" he tweeted.
The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their "pockets." The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
Mullen expressed the same idea on Sunday, saying the United States should "be on guard for human rights violations."
"We certainly should be on guard for human rights violations," Mullen said. "And I think we should be supportive of more freedoms in that country."