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Meta closes Iranian leader Khamenei’s Facebook and Instagram accounts due to repeated incitement amid ongoing war

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with members of the Air Force in Tehran, Iran Feb. 5, 2024. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA/Handout via REUTERS)

The global social media giant Meta decided to remove the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei due to systematic violations of the platform's content policies.

Khamenei, who has ruled Iran with an iron fist for over three decades, reportedly has some five million followers on Instagram who read the inflammatory posts amid the ongoing Hamas war against Israel, as well as Iranian terror proxy attacks against U.S. forces in the Middle East, including the Houthis attacks on international shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

"We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy," a Meta spokesperson told AFP.

The social media platform’s official policy clearly prohibits the spread of incitement and violence.

"In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on our platforms," the Meta policy states, adding that it will "remove glorification, support and representation of various dangerous organizations and individuals."

In the past, Meta has largely ignored antisemitic incitement spread by radical figures, such as Khamenei. While the organization failed to mention current Iranian-coordinated conflicts across the Middle East, Meta, along with other social media platforms, has been under growing pressure to suspend the accounts of the Iranian leader, who openly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) believes Meta's decision to permanently suspend Khamenei's Facebook and Instagram accounts will encourage other social media platforms to follow suit.

"It is one of those rare moves that advance both U.S. strategy and U.S. values in the Middle East. There is zero reason why Khamenei and other regime elites should be permitted to spread their invective and hate speech on social media and reach millions abroad, while they repress free speech at home and limit access to these platforms. Let us hope this inspires other social media platforms to take note,” said Taleblu.

FDD Research Analyst Janatan Sayeh concurred with his colleague and called on the social media platform 𝕏 to remove Khamenei's account.

“While the Iranian regime persecutes civic activists for voicing their discontent, Khamenei and other officials hypocritically exploit social media platforms to spread hate and disinformation. 𝕏 ought to follow through and permanently suspend Khamenei’s accounts, to further isolate the regime’s propaganda arm and prevent it from spreading dangerous narratives,” the FDD research analyst urged.

The Islamic regime of Iran mainly wages its aggression against Israel, the United States and moderate Arab nations through its wide network of terror proxies, which include Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen and various terror militias in Syria and Iraq.

The ayatollah regime in Tehran praised the Hamas massacre of 1,200 Israeli men, women, and children on Oct. 7.

Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Nasser Kanani stressed that the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 against Israel was in line with its ideological goal to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

“What took place today is in line with the continuation of victories for the "anti-Zionist resistance" in different fields, including Syria, Lebanon and occupied lands,” Kanani said.

Just days before the Oct. 7 attack, Khamenei repeated the regime's goal to destroy Israel, referring to the Jewish state as a "cancer."

“The honorable Imam [Khomeini], may God be pleased with him, described, the usurper [Zionist] regime as a cancer. This cancer will definitely be eradicated, God willing, at the hands of the Palestinian people and the resistance forces throughout the region,” Khamenei stated.

The Iranian regime has officially denied any connection to the Oct. 7 attack, however, the Wall Street Journal reported in late October that Iran hosted and trained some 500 terrorists from Gaza before the Hamas massacres in southern Israel.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari has said the Iranian regime was deeply involved in the Hamas attack on Israel, offering financial support and training.

“Before the war, Iran directly assisted Hamas with money, training and weapons and technological know-how,” Hagari said.

“Even now, Iran is helping Hamas with intelligence,” he added.

In addition, a recent report published by the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center (MTAC) noted how Iran is waging a targeted, coordinated and destructive campaign of cyberattacks and anti-Israel operations against Israel.

“As the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7, 2023, Iran immediately surged support to Hamas with its now well-honed technique of combining targeted hacks with influence operations amplified on social media; what we refer to as cyber-enabled influence operations,” MTAC wrote.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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