On Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted: “Martyr Soleimani is an eternal reality that will live on forever. His assassins – including Trump & the like – will go down in history’s garbage bin, but of course after receiving retribution in this world for the crime they committed.” This is a clear threat, but Twitter has not banned or suspended Khamenei’s account. After all, he was threatening Donald Trump, and as far as Twitter is concerned, what could be wrong with that?
Khamenei was referring, of course, to Qasem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander who was killed in a Trump-ordered American airstrike on Jan. 3, 2020. Soleimani was killed near Baghdad International Airport shortly after an Iranian-backed militia attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as a clear warning to Iran not to continue to target Americans and American installations.
The Islamic Republic, however, has consistently portrayed the killing of Soleimani as an unprovoked, gratuitous strike by the Great Satan. Yet the Supreme Leader’s belligerence is longstanding. Before Soleimani was killed, he was just as hostile to the United States and American leaders as he is now. Khamenei has also threatened Trump before. Iran’s state-controlled Ahlul Bayt News Agency reported on Jan. 23, 2021, that the Supreme Leader’s official website “posted a photo-montage of former US President Donald Trump playing golf under the shadow of a drone, vowing to avenge the assassination of Iran’s Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.”
Khamenei also thundered in December 2020, “Revenge is certain.” He added, “The assassin of Soleimani and the one who ordered the murder should be punished. As an esteemed person said, Soleimani’s shoe is worth more than the assassin’s head and even decapitation of the assassin will not compensate for Soleimani’s shoe; but they did the wrong thing. They should be punished. The one who ordered and the assassin should know that they should be punished at any time possible.”
Trump was a favored Khamenei target even before Soleimani was killed. In February 2019, the Supreme Leader declared to a military gathering that “as long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon ‘Death to America.’ ‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, (National Security Adviser) John Bolton, and (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo. It means death to American rulers.” Oh, well, then, that’s okay — at least with Twitter.
In May 2018, the Supreme Leader said in a speech, “A few days ago, Trump wrote a letter to the leaders of some Persian Gulf countries, to which we have access. In the letter, he indicated that he spent $7 trillion on these countries, so they must adhere to his orders. Well, Trump, you have spent all this money to dominate Syria and Iraq, but you couldn’t do it; you will go to hell with your failures. … This man’s corpse will also be worm food while IRI [the Islamic Republic of Iran] stands strong.”
Even when Iran was concluding the nuclear deal with Barack Obama, Khamenei was just as aggressively anti-American as he is now. On Sept. 23, 2015, two months after the nuke deal was finalized, Khamenei published an article entitled “The Idols Will Be Shattered,” illustrated with a drawing of the Statue of Liberty shattered in pieces. In it he declared, “The idol of the soul, the idol of pride, [and] the idol of sexual lust; the idol of tyranny and subservience; the idol of global tyranny [that is, the U.S.]; the idol of sloth and irresponsibility; and the other idols that shame the precious human soul—a plan that will spring forth from the depths of the heart will shatter them.”
And now Khamenei has vowed “retribution in this world” against Trump and others. He is in the enviable position of hating the same people the Leftist self-appointed guardians of acceptable opinion hate, so he is able to spread his hatred on social media without fear of suffering the fate of his nemesis, Trump. If Iran’s Supreme Leader had issued a similar threat against any current or former head of state of any country, he would have been banned from Twitter immediately. But when Twitter is apparently fine even with open threats such as those Khamenei has issued against Trump, its own agenda becomes all too clear: Twitter’s own hatred for Trump and his supporters is practically as intense as Khamenei’s.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an.