Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.
Obama was initially reluctant to speak forcefully in favor of the demonstrations for fear the Iranian regime would undermine the grass-roots nature of the protests. "We all know that's complete nonsense", she scoffed.
Washington's Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley dismissed the utility of possible direct talks between North and South Korea, warning that a harder line is necessary in light of reports that Pyongyang might be preparing for more ballistic missile tests.
"It takes great bravery for the Iranian people to use the power of their voice against their government, especially when their government has a long history of murdering its own people who dare to speak the truth", Haley said.
South Carolina's senior senator also criticized the response of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the protests.
"The global community made the mistake of failing to do that in 2009. But if it does, we must bring even more measures to bear on the North Korean regime", Nikki Haley said at the UN's NY headquarters.
"President Rouhani told other Iranian leaders these protests are 'nothing, ' " U.S. Sen. All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause.
The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday praised the courage of Iranian demonstrators and said protests across the Islamic Republic were spontaneous and not driven by outside forces.
President Donald Trump said the U.S.is "watching" events unfold, writing on Twitter that the Iranian "people have little food, big inflation and no human rights". "We need to also organize an worldwide response".
"The civilized world must remain united and vigilant against the rogue state's development of a nuclear arsenal".
Diplomats tell CNN the Trump administration was in touch with European allies over the weekend to coordinate strategies, but efforts to put out a joint statement were met with reluctance from some governments. "We're going to make sure they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process".