Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has posted online an apparent call for an attack on Donald Trump in revenge for last year’s killing of its top military commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani.
A photomontage on his official website appears to show the ex-US president playing golf in the shadow of a warplane or large drone.
The website image is captioned “vengeance is definite”.
Twitter has suspended a small account which first tweeted the image.
A spokeswoman told Reuters the account – @khamenei_site – was fake and violated Twitter’s platform manipulation and spam policy.
However, the post was also retweeted by Ayatollah Khamenei’s much larger Farsi Twitter account with more than 300,000 followers. It has since disappeared from that account.
#Iran : The threatening tweet against #Trump WAS retweeted on Ayatollah Khamenei’s main Farsi twitter account – not just the odd small one now removed Here is the screengrab It’s now been removed This surely raises questions about the main Farsi twitter site pic.twitter.com/DZf96X6iFu
— sebastian usher (@sebusher) January 22, 2021
In the tweet, written in Farsi, the word “vengeance” is in red and the rest of the post says: “Soleimani’s murderer, and he who ordered it, will have to pay”.
On the Ayatollah Khomeini’s official website, the image is posted prominently. The accompanying text quotes comments he made on 16 December, again vowing revenge “at any time”.
Twitter had been urged to act after several users pointed out what they saw as the inconsistency of banning Trump but not the Iranian leader.
Twitter closed Trump’s hugely influential account earlier this month after he published posts that were widely considered to have encouraged violence that overwhelmed the US Capitol.
“How come this atrocious psychopath can openly call for the assassination of a former US president, and not be kicked out of Twitter?” one user wrote in English.
“Trump’s banned, but this is perfectly ok. Is this a joke?” another user wrote.
The Iranian tweet refers to General Soleimani, who was assassinated by a US drone in Baghdad a year ago.
Under Soleimani’s leadership, Iran had bolstered pro-Iranian militant groups, expanded its military presence in Iraq and Syria and orchestrated Syria’s offensive against rebel groups in its long-running civil war.
Trump said at the time the general was “directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people”.
Iran responded by launching a barrage of missiles at an Iraqi airbase housing US troops and warned of further attacks, with Ayatollah Khamenei saying at the time that “severe revenge awaits the criminals”.
Twitter banned a tweet from the ayatollah earlier this month that described coronavirus vaccines developed in the UK and the US as “untrustworthy”.