Twitter under fire for allowing Iran leader’s extreme rhetoric about US, UAE

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the US and the UAE, using extreme rhetoric including “filthy Zionist agents” and the hashtag “#UAEStabsMuslims.”

“The nation of Palestine is under various, severe pressures. Then, the UAE acts in agreement with the Israelis & filthy Zionist agents of the U.S. —such as the Jewish member of Trump’s family— with utmost cruelty against the interests of the World of Islam. #UAEStabsMuslims,” tweeted Khamenei as Israeli, American, and Emirati officials met in Abu Dhabi.

The inflammatory tweet was allowed on the platform, and has not been censored in any way, sparking outrage from prominent users around the world who called for Twitter to take down the post in adherence with its guidelines.

“This anti-Semitism from a world leader would seem to violate the twitter guidelines,” wrote CNN anchor Jake Tapper in a tweet.

US Senator Ted Cruz posed a question to Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey asking, “why is Twitter censoring American free speech while simultaneously serving as a mouthpiece for the anti-American and anti-Semitic lies of the Ayatollah?”

Son of US President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. posted that Twitter is giving “this disgusting and anti-Semitic rant a total pass. Just disgusting.”

Son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Netanyahu said “Unbelievable! Twitter doesn’t take down this vile antisemitic tweet by the dictator of Iran…”

Al Arabiya English reached out to Twitter for comment but the company had not responded by time of publication. This article will be updated should a response be given.

This is not the first time Twitter has gained attention for allowing Khamenei to post extreme language.

In July Twitter defended its decision to allow Khamenei to call for genocide while censoring tweets from President Donald Trump.

During an Israeli parliament hearing on July 29, international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky asked a Twitter representative why the company has recently started flagging tweets by Trump, but not Iran’s Khamenei “who has literally called for the genocide of Israel and the Jewish people” on the social media platform.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, speaks during a meeting with students at the Hussayniyeh of Imam Khomeini in Tehran. (Reuters)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, speaks during a meeting with students at the Hussayniyeh of Imam Khomeini in Tehran. (Reuters)

“Foreign policy saber-rattling on political economic issues are generally not in violation of our Twitter rules,” answered Ylwa Pettersson, Twitter’s head policy for the Nordic countries and Israel, via video conference.

“Calling for genocide on Twitter is okay - but commenting on political situations in certain countries is not okay?” replied Israeli parliament member Michal Cotler-Wunsh. In May, Twitter hid a tweet by Trump, where the American president wrote that looters at protests in Minneapolis would be shot.

Pettersson then said that Trump’s tweet “was violating our policies regarding the glorification of violence … and the risk that it could possibly inspire harm.”

“If a world leader violates our rules, but it is a clear interest in keeping it on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides more context about the violation and allows people to click through if they wish to see that kind of content,” she added.

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