The web site of Iran’s Supreme Leader on Friday carried the picture of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being focused by a drone alongside a risk of revenge over final 12 months’s killing of a prime Iranian normal 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 pretend.
Underneath the web site image had been remarks by Khamenei in December forward of the primary anniversary this month of the killing of navy commander General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, which was ordered by Trump.
“Both the murderers and those who ordered it should know that revenge may 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 repeatedly 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.
High stress and threat of warfare appeared to subside with the top 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 by diplomacy.
Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the Biden White House National Security Council, stated “these kinds of threats from Iran are unacceptable.”
“We strongly condemn this provocative action. We will continue to work with our friends and partners to counter Iran’s malign influence,” she stated in response to a request for remark.
The prime Republican on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, earlier urged the Biden administration “to respond quickly and forcefully to this provocative threat against a former president” and known as on Twitter to instantly and completely droop Khamenei’s account.
An official near Khamenei’s inside circle stated: “The aim (of the tweet) was to remind the gambler (Trump) that leaving office does not mean he will be safe and the assassination of our martyr Soleimani will be forgotten.”
“And now, American troops cannot protect him,” the official, who requested to not be named, instructed Reuters with out elaborating.
Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was answerable 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 risk might be an finish in itself: “The intention of the tweet seems to be keeping alive the spectre of revenge, which perhaps by itself is a kind 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. Asked if the @khamenei_site account was pretend, she stated it was.
Iranian officers weren’t instantly accessible to remark.
The golfer picture tweet was retweeted by Khamenei’s most important 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 most important 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 during which he stated U.S.- and British-made vaccines had been unreliable and could also be supposed to “contaminate other 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 officials) can use social media to promote violence,” U.S.-based activist Massih Alinejad instructed 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.