US Senator Accuses Twitter Of Violating Sanctions By Providing Platform To Iran's Khamenei
Maryam Sinaiee July 30, 2020
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has said that Twitter is violating sanctions on Iran by providing the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with account services.
In a tweet on Thursday, Senator Cruz also said that he has urged The United States Attorney General William Barr to open a criminal investigation into the alleged violations including "antisemitic vitriol and hatred against America".
Senator Cruz also quoted Israeli international human rights lawyer and political analyst Arsen Ostrovsky's tweet who wrote that at a hearing of the Knesset - Israel's unicameral legislature - on antisemitism the representative of Twitter told him that they flag the U.S. President Donald Trump because it serves "public conversation" but not the Iranian ruler's "call for genocide" which passes for acceptable "commentary on political issues of the day" according to the representative.
Jack Beyrer wrote in The Washington Free Beacon on July 29 that Twitter does not apply the same standards to Khamenei as it does to President Trump. On several occasions Twitter has taken down Trump's tweets for "glorifying violence" while the Ayatollah's tweets some of which advocate for the genocide of Israeli Jews remain untouched, he wrote.
Khamenei has in several tweets called Israel "a cancerous tumor" and called for its "elimination". Critics say this rhetoric encourages violence against Israelis. However, Khamenei has also said that the State of Israel and Zionism are different from Jews in his view.
"We aren't against Jews. [Eliminating Israel] means abolishing the imposed regime [of Israel] and [allowing] Muslim, Christian and Jewish Palestinians choose their own government and expel thugs like Netanyahu," one of his tweets says and adds: "This is 'eliminating Israel' and it will happen".
In February Khamenei's English account was temporarily suspended by Twitter for an offensive post in which he endorsed a religious ruling (fatwa) in late 1980s condemning Salman Rushdie -- the author of the book The Satanic Verses -- to death.
Twitter is one of a host of websites and social media platforms that are banned in Iran. Iranian netizens need to use proxy servers to access these sites and platforms.
However, not only Khamenei but many of other high-ranking officials including the Iranian president and even the Minister of Communications who is responsible for enforcing the bans use Twitter and other social media platforms to get their messages out at domestic and international levels.
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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