MSNBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin referred to Iran's malign actions in the Middle East as "endeavors" during a segment Tuesday about the mass protests against the Islamic Republic's regime.
At least 21 people have been killed during wide-scale, anti-government protests by Iranians fed up with high prices and economic mismanagement by the ayatollahs. Some of that frustration has stemmed from using sanctions relief from the Iran nuclear deal on terror sponsorship rather than building up the country.
"There is truth that the Iranian people did not reap the benefits of what was supposed to be a windfall of money, and that has been a consistent argument made by American critics of the Iran nuclear deal, that the money that the Iran government was going to receive was probably going to be diverted and used in those endeavors in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen," Mohyeldin said.
Iran's "endeavors" in those countries include bolstering dictator Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, supporting the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, and supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
"Morning Joe" fill-in host Katty Kay read out President Donald Trump's latest tweet in support of Iranian protesters which also criticized the Obama administration for "all of the money" that "went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.'"
"Ayman, does the president have a point here, that the sanctions relief that was given through the Iran nuclear deal doesn't seem to have filtered down to the people on the streets of Iran? Is that because it hasn't filtered down yet, and it will do, we just need to give it more time, or is it just that it's being diverted into military programs and Syria, for example?" Kay asked.
"Yeah, I think it's a blend of both," Mohyeldin said. "There's no doubt that Iran has been engaged in costly endeavors, both in Syria …in Yemen, it supports Hezbollah in Lebanon. All of that is a drain on the resources of the state."
Mohyeldin noted protesters who had specifically called out the regime for its spending outside the country.
Mohyeldin said the Rouhani administration had made attempts to sign deals with European corporations to improve the aviation industry and bring in more car manufacturing. He criticized the Trump administration for imposing sanctions and "trying to block Iran" from making economic gains.
"This Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Iran, and so they've been trying to block Iran from making any kind of economic gains over the last year that this administration has been in office," he said.