Meta Bans Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei From Facebook, Instagram
Meta has suspended the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on grounds of “repeated violations” of its “dangerous organizations and individuals policy.” The company that operated the two platforms announced the official ban on Thursday. Khamenei had reportedly praised the October 7 attacks conducted by Hamas on Israel and the ban is being seen as a result of that. However, Meta has not mentioned the incident or his statements as the reason for the ban.
Meta removes Iran Leader's Instagram accounts under pro-Israeli lobby pressurehttps://t.co/Yg0ulc0Xu7— Press TV (@PressTV) February 9, 2024
"We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy," a spokesperson for Meta told AFP. According to the policy, organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence are removed from the platforms.
Meta’s decision comes amid mounting pressure from Iranian opposition and pro-Israel campaigners to ban Khamenei's social media accounts for his anti-Israel stance, especially since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, which left nearly 1,200 people dead.
“God willing, the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region," Khamenei said in a tweet which was later removed.
God willing, the victory of people in Gaza will become clearer day by day.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) February 8, 2024
News of Meta’s deactivation of Khamenei’s accounts was first reported by Middle East Eye. His Persian-language Instagram page had over 5.1 million followers, and the English-language account had over 204,000 followers.
Khamenei’s History of Violations
Iran is a sworn enemy of Israel, and Tehran has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The country’s Supreme Leader has been expressing his anti-Israel remarks for a long time. Khamenei, who has been in power since the death of his predecessor Ruhollah Khomenei in 1989, had his accounts suspended on Instagram in 2019, but they were later restored.
In 2020, Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor” that “will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed”, The New York Post reported.
Khamenei has denied Iran’s participation in the Hamas-led operation.
"The supporters of the Zionist regime (Israel) and some people in the usurping regime have been spreading rumors over the past two or three days, including that Islamic Iran was behind this action. They are wrong," he had said in a speech at a military academy, The Times of Israel reported.
Iran’s Alleged Support To Hamas And Houthis
While Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, denied that the Islamic republic had any involvement in orchestrating the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, he did acknowledge that the Iranian regime has provided arms and training to Palestinian terror groups, in an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt.
“It was the Palestinian decision and the Palestinian implementation. We have no role in this case,” he said in the interview.
However, the US has said that Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip and is at war against Israel, is getting support from Iran, with funding coming in at around $100 million per year.
The US officials have also linked Iran to Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah, Palestine Islamic Jihad of the West Bank, and groups in Iraq and Syria that have targeted US forces.
Khamenei has continued to express support for the attacks on shipping in the Red Sea carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, which like Hamas are also allegedly sponsored by Iran.
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