Twitter said on Friday, 22 January, it had suspended an account that carried a link to the website of Iran’s supreme leader, hours after it carried the image of a golfer resembling former US President Donald Trump, apparently being targeted by a drone.
Twitter later said it had determined the account was fake, but Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official website carried the same post.
The post, on a Persian-language account linked to Khamenei’s website, had carried the text of remarks by the ayatollah in December, in which he said ‘Revenge is certain’. That speech renewed a vow of vengeance ahead of the first anniversary of the killing of top military commander General Qassem Soleimani in an attack in Iraq.
A Twitter spokeswoman said the @khamenei_site account was suspended for violating the company’s platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts. When asked if the @khamenei_site account was fake, she said it was.
The golfer image tweet was retweeted by Khamenei’s main Persian-language account @Khamenei-fa, although it appeared to have been deleted later. The text and graphic of the tweet was also carried by Khamenei’s official website (farsi.khamenei.ir) and widely quoted by Iranian media.
Khamenei’s @Khamenei_fa account and his main Twitter account in English, which did not carry the golfer image tweet, is still operational.