Pelosi Says Trump Turned Iranians Against America — Protesters Start Hashtag Calling Her a Liar

Iranians reacted to remarks from Nancy Pelosi on Sunday by starting a Twitter hashtag implying the House Speaker was spreading fake news.

During a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Pelosi addressed reports of Iranians protesting their own regime following Iran’s admission that it had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet last week.

The California Democrat, who has strongly criticized President Donald Trump’s administration for killing Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, suggested the target of the demonstrators’ ire was not the Iranian regime itself.

MORE: Iranian Protesters Refuse to Trample American Flag While Demanding End of Own Government

“Well, the protesters are protesting about the fact that the plane went down and many students were on that plane,” she told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.

Stephanopoulos pointed out the protesters had accused “the regime of lying, saying ‘Death to the Dictator’ as well.”

“Well whatever it is,” Pelosi replied. “But the fact is this: There were protesters in the street before against the regime. After the taking out of Soleimani, there were protesters in the street joined together, as you know, against us. It wasn’t good.”

“There are different reasons why people are in the street,” she added.

Some Iranians were upset by Pelosi’s comments, accusing her of misrepresenting how they felt about their country’s regime.

A hashtag campaign, which appeared to originate with Iranian journalist and activist Nariman Gharib, ensued.

“Iranian people are angry about what Nancy Pelosi said recently in the interview with @ABC so WE’ve launched a hashtag against what she said. #NancyPelosiFakeNews,” Gharib tweeted early Monday morning.

Several other Iranian social media users followed Gharib’s lead.


The hashtag was trending later in the day, receiving a substantial boost after the president retweeted Gharib’s initial tweet.


Liberals on social media suggested the #NancyPelosiFakeNews hashtag was the product of a foreign influence campaign engineered by “bots.”

The Twitter account for the Palmer Report, a partisan liberal blog, characterized the #NancyPelosiFakeNews hashtag as “fake.”

Feminist journalist Caroline Orr accused Trump of “signaling that he’s open to foreign interference.”

The tweet Orr linked to in her attack on Trump appeared to push back on the narrative that the anti-Pelosi hashtag was inauthentic.

User Conspirador Norteño, a popular Twitter account belonging to someone purporting to be a “data scientist” and member of the anti-Trump “Resistance,” shot down the idea that #NancyPelosiFakeNews had proliferated by way of bots.

“We’ve been seeing rumors about bots, but the traffic mostly doesn’t look automated,” Conspirador Norteño tweeted on Monday.

Conspirador Norteño also said the accounts which had first tweeted out the hashtag appeared to be Iranian.

“They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here”

Students protesting the Iranian regime at a university in Tehran refused to trample on an American flag painted on the ground in the path of their march, according to social media posts.

Footage, posted to Twitter by Iranian outlets critical of the government, appeared to capture a crowd of several hundred protestors at the university going out of their way not to walk on the U.S. flag or an Israeli flag painted alongside it.

Those who did walk on the flags were chastised by others, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Across Iran on Sunday, protesters took to the streets to demand the state’s top leadership quit. The display of anger came after the Iranian military admitted it had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner at a time when it had feared U.S. strikes.

MORE: Video Shows the Moment Ukrainian Plane Was Hit by a Missile

“They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here,” dozens of protesters outside a university in Tehran chanted, according to video clips posted on Twitter. Scores of demonstrators were also shown gathered in other cities.

The social media posts could not be verified by Reuters. But state-affiliated media had reported protests on Saturday shortly after the Iranian military apologized for mistakenly bringing down the Ukrainian plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 aboard.

Tehran residents told Reuters police were out in force in the capital on Sunday, as public discontent boiled up following days of denials by the military that it was to blame, even as Canada and the United States said a missile had brought the plane down.

Riot police fired teargas at thousands of protesters in the capital on Saturday, where many had chanted “Death to the dictator,” directing their rage at the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Apologize and resign,” Iran’s moderate Etemad daily wrote in a banner headline on Sunday, saying the “people’s demand” was for those responsible for mishandling the plane crisis to quit.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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