Twitter suspends Iran top leader's account over Trump threat

Twitter suspends Iran top leader’s account over Trump threat


Dubai: Twitter said on Friday that it had permanently banned an account linked to the office of the Supreme Leader of Iran, and that the account posted a photo showing former President Donald Trump playing golf in the shadow of a giant drone.

In response to a request for comment from the Associated Press, a Twitter spokesperson stated that the tweet violated the company’s “abuse policy” and that the account violated its “manipulation and spam policy, especially the creation of fake accounts.” No need to elaborate.

Other statements related to the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are still active.

Earlier this month, Facebook and Twitter cut off Trump from their platforms for allegedly inciting the assault on the U.S. Capitol, an unprecedented step that underscored the immense power of tech giants in regulating speech on their platforms. Activists soon urged the companies to apply their policies equally to political figures worldwide in order to combat hate speech and content that encourages violence.

The image posted late Thursday by the account linked to Khamenei, @khamenei_site, appeared to call for an attack on Trump, with the caption “Revenge is certain” written in Farsi.

The warning referenced Khamenei’s remarks last month ahead of the first anniversary of the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. In his speech, Khamenei did not call out Trump by name, but reiterated a vow for vengeance against those who ordered and executed the attack on Soleimani.

“Revenge will certainly happen at the right time,” Khamenei had declared.

Iran blocked social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and censored other sites. Although senior officials have unrestricted access to social media, Iranian youth and tech-savvy citizens use proxy servers or other solutions to bypass these controls.

Soon after Trump’s ban on Twitter triggered calls from other political leaders for targeted tweets, the company cancelled a position through another Khamenei-related account that promoted the COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theory.

Khamenei, who has the final say in all national affairs of Iran, claimed that the virus vaccine imported from the United States or the United Kingdom is “completely unreliable.”

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