Iran's Khamenei tweets his views on US police brutality
Mr. Khamenei used the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #Ferguson in a series of tweets that suggested the hypocrisy of the US at Christmastime.
Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, took to Twitter on Sunday to weigh in on the debate over race relations and police brutality in the United States.
Mr. Khamenei, who often uses his English-language Twitter feed to criticize the US, invoked the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #Ferguson in his most recent series of tweets that suggested the hypocrisy of the US at Christmastime.
“#Jesus endured sufferings to oppose tyrants who had put humans in hell in this world& the hereafter while he backed the oppressed. #Ferguson,” he tweeted Sunday, followed by: “It's expected that followers of #Jesus follow him in his fight against arrogants and in his support for the oppressed. #BlackLivesMatter.”
In a post on Christmas Eve, the ayatollah likened the police shootings of African-Americans in the US to the Palestinian struggle in Gaza.
“If #Jesus were among us today he wouldn’t spare a second to fight the arrogants&support the oppressed.#Ferguson #Gaza,” he wrote.
It wasn’t Khamenei’s first time sharing his views on US race relations since police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, inflaming racial tensions and sparking riots as well as peaceful protests. A grand jury ultimately decided not to indict Officer Wilson.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the ayatollah tweeted: "Today like previous years, African-Americans are still under pressure, oppressed and subjected to discrimination. #Ferguson."
Some Twitter users responded to Khamenei’s most recent rant by calling him a hypocrite and pointing out Iran’s poor human rights record. They tweeted at him with hashtags such as #AllLivesMatter, #KurdishLivesMatter, #WomenLivesMatter, and #GayLivesMatter.
“You’re one to talk,” Twitter user @rudy_beek tweeted. “Try giving your own citizens basic human rights first.”
In addition to black lives, @Futiledemocracy said gay lives and apostate lives matter, too. “Let's not pretend you're anything but a violent supremacist,” he tweeted at the ayatollah.
Even though Twitter hasn’t verified Khamenei’s account, it's widely understood to be managed by his personal office, the Guardian reports. It serves as a global megaphone for the outspoken leader, who has commented on everything from the CIA torture report and the Occupy Movement to the Israel government and Zionism. The account has more than 91,000 followers.