The apparent crackdown comes following the permaban on former US President Donald Trump earlier in the month, who was accused of “inciting” violence at the Capitol on 6 January.
One of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s Twitter acccounts – @khamenei_site – has been suspended after posting a rendered image of Trump playing golf as a bomber or drone flies overhead preparing to “avenge” the death of Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani.
Screengrab of the suspended @khamenei_site, an account used by the Iranian Supreme Leader.
Iranian news agency Tasnim, which also shared the image posted by Khamenei, saw its tweet about the story deleted, but its accounts remain active.
Khamenei’s @khamenei_ir account, which did not appear to post the offending image, remains active at the time of writing, with its last post published on 18 January. Other accounts, including @Khamenei_fa, @ur_khamenei, @Khamenei_Fra, and others similarly appear to be active.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main English-language account, @khamenei_ir, seems to have been left untouched as of this writing.
Trump hasn’t been so lucky. Twitter banned all of his accounts and went on to suspend other official accounts associated with his administration after the he attempted to sidestep the restrictions. Trump was also banned on Facebook and Instagram, with Facebook referring the former president to its version of a “supreme court” to determine if he should be banned permanently.
Along with Trump, Twitter also purged the accounts of multiple high profile supporters of the former president, ostensibly to suppress content linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims Trump was fighting an elite cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles during his time in office.
Commentators in the US have long accused Twitter of anti-conservative bias, with some suggesting that if Trump can be banned, so too should accounts belonging to various US adversaries around the world. Others, both on the Left and the Right, have suggested that free speech is paramount, and that people should be allowed to have a presence on social media even if it offends some sensibilities.
The computer-generated image which appears to have gotten one of Ayatollah Khamenei’s accounts suspended. Image shows a man, presumably Donald Trump, golfing as a silhouette of an aircraft, possibly a Sahed 171 drone, is seen flying overhead. Text accompanying the image says “Vengeance is inevitable.”
Iranian officials have repeatedly threatened revenge attacks against US officials in the wake of Qasem Soleimani’s assassination in a US drone strike in January 2020 . Tehran holds Donald Trump personally responsible for the killing, citing the fact that he signed off on the assassination order.