Twitter bans account of Iran’s top leader after Trump threat

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Twitter says it’s permanently banned an account connected to the office of Iran’s supreme leader that seemed to threaten former President Donald Trump, calling the account “fake.”

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

The suspended account, @khamenei—site, linked Khamenei’s own website and frequently posted excerpts from his speeches and other official content.

Other accounts thought to be tied to Khamenei’s office that did not tweet the golf-drone photo, including his main English language account, remained active. The photo had also featured prominently on the supreme leader’s website.

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.

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

Iran blocks social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, and censors others. While top officials have unfettered access to social media, Iran’s youth and tech-savvy citizens use proxy servers or other workarounds to bypass the controls.

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, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, had claimed that virus vaccines imported from the U.S. or Britain were “completely untrustworthy.”

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