Khamenei Twitter account banned after apparent threat to Trump

Trump is shown playing golf in the shadow of a giant drone, with the caption “Revenge is certain” written in Farsi.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Twitter permanently banned an account believed to be linked to the office of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after it posted a picture that appeared to threaten former President Donald Trump.

In the image posted by the suspect account late Thursday, Trump is shown playing golf in the shadow of a giant drone, with the caption “Revenge is certain” written in Farsi.

In response to a request for comment from The Associated Press, a Twitter spokesman said the account was fake and violated the company’s “manipulation and spam policy,” without elaborating how it came to that conclusion.

The tweet of the golfer-drone photo violated the company’s “abusive behavior policy,” Twitter’s spokesman added.

In Iran, the suspect account — @khamenei_site — is believed to be linked to the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei because its behavior mirrored that of other accounts identified in state-run media as tied to his office. It frequently posted excerpts from his speeches and other official content.

In this case, the account carried the link to Khamenei’s website.

However, other accounts tied to Khamenei’s office that did not tweet the golf-drone photo, including his main English language account, Khamenei.ir, remain active.

It is from his main account that he has called for Israel’s destruction.

In July of last year, a Knesset committee hearing on the topic of social media anti-Semitism learned from a Twitter representative that calls for genocide against Israel were considered by the social-media giant to be “saber-rattling” and “not in violation of our Twitter rules.”

Knesset member Michal Cotler-Wunsh, who headed the discussion, later tweeted, “Wow. Twitter just admitted that tweets calling genocide against Jews by Iranian leaders DON’T violate its policy!”

Twitter has been accused of double standards and violating basic free speech rights in its treatment of conservatives.

On Jan. 8, Twitter banned then President Donald Trump’s account following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Twitter based its ban on two tweets by Trump, one saying he wouldn’t attend the inauguration. Critics of the ban said that Twitter had interpreted the tweets in a Kafkaesque way and that they weren’t a call for violence as the platform alleged.

As a result of Trump’s ban, Twitter also found itself under pressure to ban other political figures whose calls for violence have been much more pronounced, particularly Khamenei.

Soon after Trump’s ban from Twitter ignited calls to target tweets from other political leaders, the company took down a post by a different Khamenei-linked account that pushed a Covid-19 vaccine conspiracy theory.

Khamenei claimed that virus vaccines imported from the U.S. or Britain were “completely untrustworthy.”