Iran’s Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks throughout Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007.
Morteza Nikoubazl | Reuters
The web site of Iran’s Supreme Chief on Friday carried the picture of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being focused by a drone alongside a menace of revenge over final yr’s killing of a prime Iranian common in a U.S. drone assault.
The picture first appeared on a Persian-language Twitter feed that carried a hyperlink to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s web site. Twitter took down that feed on Friday, saying it was faux.
Beneath the web site image had been remarks by Khamenei in December forward of the primary anniversary this month of the killing of navy commander Common Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, which was ordered by Trump.
“Each the murderers and people who ordered it ought to know that revenge might come at any time,” stated the feedback on prime of the picture, which confirmed the shadow of a drone looming over the lone golfer. Trump, who commonly performs golf, was not named.
U.S.-Iran tensions grew quickly after 2018, when Trump exited a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and 6 world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions.
Tehran retaliated for Soleimani’s killing with missile strikes towards U.S. targets in Iraq however the two sides backed away from additional confrontation.
Excessive stress and danger of battle appeared to subside with the tip of Trump’s time period. His successor President Joe Biden, sworn in on Wednesday, has stated Washington seeks to elongate and strengthen the nuclear constraints on Iran via diplomacy.
Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the Biden White Home Nationwide Safety Council, stated “these sorts of threats from Iran are unacceptable.”
“We strongly condemn this provocative motion. We are going to proceed to work with our pals and companions to counter Iran’s malign affect,” she stated in response to a request for remark.
The highest Republican on the U.S. Home Overseas Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, earlier urged the Biden administration “to reply shortly and forcefully to this provocative menace towards a former president” and referred to as on Twitter to right away and completely droop Khamenei’s account.
An official near Khamenei’s inside circle stated: “The intention (of the tweet) was to remind the gambler (Trump) that leaving workplace doesn’t imply he might be secure and the assassination of our martyr Soleimani might be forgotten.”
“And now, American troops can not defend him,” the official, who requested to not be named, advised Reuters with out elaborating.
Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Pressure, was chargeable for clandestine abroad operations and was broadly seen because the second strongest determine in Iran after Khamenei.
Iran’s navy and clerical rulers have stated Tehran would select the time and place of Soleimani’s revenge.
A Tehran-based analyst stated the menace may very well be an finish in itself: “The intention of the tweet appears to be preserving alive the specter of revenge, which maybe by itself is a sort of revenge.”
A Twitter spokeswoman stated the @khamenei_site account was suspended for violating the corporate’s platform manipulation and spam coverage, particularly towards the creation of pretend accounts. Requested if the @khamenei_site account was faux, she stated it was.
Iranian officers weren’t instantly out there to remark.
The golfer picture tweet was retweeted by Khamenei’s primary Persian-language account @Khamenei-fa, though it appeared to have been deleted later. The textual content and graphic of the tweet later carried by Khamenei’s official web site (farsi.khamenei.ir) was additionally broadly quoted by Iranian media.
Khamenei’s @Khamenei_fa account and his primary Twitter account in English, which didn’t carry the golfer picture tweet, had been nonetheless operational.
Earlier this month, Twitter eliminated a tweet by Khamenei wherein he stated U.S.- and British-made vaccines had been unreliable and could also be meant to “contaminate different nations” for violating its guidelines towards misinformation.
Exiled rights activists renewed requires Twitter to ban Khamenei. “I hope the world can see how they (Iranian officers) can use social media to advertise violence,” U.S.-based activist Massih Alinejad advised Reuters.
Twitter completely suspended Trump’s account following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by a few of his supporters, citing the chance of additional incitement of violence.