Confusion Abounds Over Tweet Showing 'Golfing Trump'

Twitter suspended 'fake' Khamenei account over apparent threat, but Iranian leader's site has the pic
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2021 2:14 PM CST
Twitter Suspends 'Fake' Khamenei Account Over Trump Threat
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.   (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Log onto the website of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and an unusual photo appears on the homepage: a graphic representation of a man who appears to be Donald Trump, playing golf in a red shirt. Look more closely, however, and the image turns more ominous, with the Trump lookalike playing in the shadow of what appears to be an aircraft of some sort flying overhead, and the words "Revenge Is Definite" as the caption. Reuters notes that Trump is "apparently being targeted by a drone," with the call for retaliation seemingly spurred by the recent anniversary of the US drone strike in early 2020 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Attention was drawn to the photo after it started circulating on a Persian-language Twitter feed that appeared to be tied to Khamenei. "Revenge is inevitable," the post read in Farsi, per Ireland's Journal. "Soleimani's killer and the man who gave the orders must face vengeance."

Twitter suspended the @khamenei_site account Friday, and a company spokesman told the AP that the account had violated its "abusive behavior policy." Later Friday, however, Reuters reported it received a clarification from Twitter on the suspended account—notably, that it was found to be a phony not tied to Khamenei, with Twitter reporting the account had also breached its "manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts," per the AP. At least one account linked to the 81-year-old head of state is still up and running. Still, some are skeptical that the suspended account wasn't somehow associated with the supreme leader, pointing out that Khamenei's site still hosts the offending image. (Read more Ali Khamenei stories.)

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