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Iranians call out Khamenei’s hypocrisy after speech on US protests

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Iranians have launched a hashtag in recent days against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after he attacked the US government for the police killing of George Floyd, reminding him of the Iranians killed under the current regime over the years.

“In dealing with its people, the US government has behaved in the worst manner,” Khamenei said in a televised speech on Wednesday, marking the 31st anniversary of the death of former supreme leader and founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini.


The manner in which Floyd was killed “is nothing new … it is the nature of the US system,” he said. “They kill people, yet they are long-tongued.”

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Iranians have been using this same quote as a hashtag in recent days against Khamenei to call out what they consider his “hypocrisy,” and remind him of the Iranians killed over the past four decades under the current regime.

Thousands of Iranian users on Twitter and Instagram have been posting the images and names of victims from Iran’s 2019, 2017 and 2009 protests, as well as the victims of the mass executions of political prisoners in the late 1980s, the serial killings of dissidents in the 1990s, and the victims of the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by the Iranian military over Tehran in January.

Iranian riot police stand guard as protesters gather in front of Tehran's Amir Kabir University on January 11, 2020. (AFP)
Iranian riot police stand guard as protesters gather in front of Tehran's Amir Kabir University on January 11, 2020. (AFP)

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They argue that Khamenei is not in a position to speak against state violence in other countries given the regime’s track record of violence against its own citizens.

“Sina Ghanbari and dozens of others in 2017, Ebrahim Ketabdar and 1,500 others in 2019. They kill the defenseless people yet they are long-tongued,” tweeted one user.

“The leader of the biggest pro-terrorism regime says, ‘they kill people, yet they are long-tongued.’ He has a point. Like him, you should kill people and then act like a bully. Like him, you should shoot down a passenger plane and then demand ransom from the world. You should kill 1,500 people over three days. Like him, you should be shameless,” tweeted another user.

Reuters reported in December that Khamenei personally ordered the crackdown on protesters last November, resulting in about 1,500 deaths during less than two weeks of unrest that started on November 15.

Mohammad Agha-soltan, the brother of Neda Agha-soltan, a young Iranian woman who was shot dead by security forces during the 2009 election protests, also tweeted an image of his slain sister, using Khamenei’s quote as a caption. Agha-soltan is one of the symbols of Iran’s 2009 protests.

Families of regime victims in Iran are often threatened to stay silent, and the perpetrators are never punished.

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