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Twitter Bans Account Linked To Iran's Supreme Leader

Twitter permanently banned an account believed to be linked to Iran's supreme leader Friday after it posted a threatening image that included former President Donald Trump.

The account, @khamenei_site, was linked to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website, The Associated Press reported. And the same account had previously posted portions of Khamenei's speeches and official content. However, a Twitter spokesperson told the AP that the account was fake, without elaborating on how it determined that.

The image that resulted in the ban, Trump playing golf in the shadow of what appears to be an aircraft, is captioned "Revenge is certain," written in Farsi.

The same image can be found on Khamenei's English website. Below the picture is a quote from Khamenei from last month: "Soleimani's murderers and those who ordered his murder must face revenge. ... Both the murderers and those who ordered it should know that revenge may come at any time."

Trump and other administration officials have said the U.S. targeted Qassem Soleimani — a powerful Iranian general and a key strategist against the U.S. — who was killed in an airstrike last year.

Trump's social media presence was all but silenced after he was accused of inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. As a result, both Twitter and Facebook moved to ban himpermanently from their platforms.

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," a Twitter statement said.

Trump was also banned from the @POTUS account for the last days of his term and from his reelection campaign account.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.