Joe Biden
Joe BidenReuters

The White House has clarified a remark President Joe Biden made late on Thursday at a rally during which he said that “we’re going to free Iran.”

A White House spokesperson explained on Friday that the president did not mean for the comment to be taken literally but was instead “expressing solidarity” with the country’s protest movement, CNN reported.

On Thursday evening, speaking to a crowd in California, Biden said: “Don’t worry, we’re going to free Iran, they’re going to free themselves pretty soon.”

Biden’s statement was met with an outraged reaction from Tehran, who viewed it as a reference to regime change. Previous statements from the president have been more carefully nuanced to not imply American involvement in the protests that have been ongoing since the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini while in custody of the morality police.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said Biden was simply conveying that he supported the protests and not announcing a policy change by the administration.

“He was expressing, again, our solidarity with them,” Kirby said. “The president’s been pretty clear about this … we’re going to continue to look for ways to hold the regime accountable for the way that they’re treating their own people.”

He added that the US did not have any evidence that the Iranian regime was about to topple, contrary to Biden’s assertion that Iranians were going to “free themselves pretty soon.”

In a Friday televised speech, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi shot back at Biden for the statement, alleging that the remark was to be taken as literal evidence the administration wanted to “destroy” Iran.

“A few hours ago, I was informed that the president of America absentmindedly [said], ‘We will soon free Iran.’ We were freed 43 years ago, and Iran will never be your milking cow,” Raisi said. “America is aiming to destroy our national unity and coherence. Americans fancy to repeat the experience of Libya, Syria and some other countries, in our country.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)