FILE PHOTO" U.S. President Joe Biden. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

 – The White House on Monday denounced the crackdown by Iranian security forces against peaceful protests in Iran, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“We’re alarmed and appalled by reports of security authorities’ responding to university students’ peaceful protests with violence and mass arrests,” she told reporters traveling with President Joe Biden to Puerto Rico.

The ongoing protests are in response to the death two weeks ago of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was beaten by security forces for wearing an “improper” hijab.

Jean-Pierre said university students in Iran are “rightly enraged” by her death and that the weekend crackdowns are the type of events that prompt young people in Iran to leave the country “and seek dignity and opportunity elsewhere.”

She gave no indication that the crackdown would impact U.S. efforts to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal, which then President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler)

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