Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was denounced by Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, on Thursday for tweeting about “Zionist merchants.”

His post accused Western powers of being a “mafia.”

“At the top of this mafia stand the prominent Zionist merchants, and the politicians obey them,” he tweeted. “The U.S. is their showcase, and they’re spread out everywhere.”

In response, Lipstadt denounced the tweet on behalf of the United States.

“This rhetoric is unacceptable—not to mention dangerous—especially from a head of state.” It must cease,” she tweeted.

Khamenei often posts tweets with anti-Semitic tropes, disinformation, the glorification of violence and Holocaust denial, as noted by the Anti-Defamation League.

In July 2020, then-U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism Ellie Cohanim called out Twitter for taking action on President Donald Trump’s account, but not Khamenei’s.

When Trump was banned from the platform in January 2021, many raised the question as to why Khamenei’s account was not also banned, including Masih Alinejad, a women’s rights activist and the founder of the My Stealthy Freedom/White Wednesday campaign.

“You’ve suspended the account of @realDonaldTrump, but you’ve not suspended the account of @khamenei_ir, who used the @Twitter platform to issue death threats,” she tweeted.

While Khamenei continues to tweet, Iranians are forbidden from accessing the platform by their government, Alinejad pointed out.

“He’s imprisoned various Twitter activists while banning Iranians from freely accessing Twitter. Why?”


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