Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has marked the latest national event commemorating the death of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by tweeting a deeply provocative statement asserting that “wealthy Zionists” control America.
The United States has reached the “peak of arrogance,” and is controlled by “wealthy Zionists and their corporate owners,” which makes it a “manifestation of oppression, abhorred by the world,” he said further, as reported in The Jerusalem Post.
The statement comes after the Islamic Republic's top cleric and head of the regime previously slammed Trump's Mideast peace plan “Deal of the Century” as “satanic” because it ultimately represents the “Jewishization” of Jerusalem and the suppression of Islamic identity.
“To the dismay of US politicians, the satanic, evil US policy about Palestine — the so-called Deal Of The Century— will never bear fruit, by the grace of God,” Khamenei wrote on his official Twitter account in late January.
Such inflammatory and religiously charged rhetoric will likely only fuel an ongoing initiative of hawkish Republican Senators to get Khamenei and other top Iranian leaders banned from Twitter and other US social media platforms.
We are against the rule of oppression and arrogance. This is what we mean by “America.” Today, the peak of arrogance is the US, which is controlled by the wealthy Zionists & their corporate owners. The US is a manifestation of oppression. Thus, they’re abhorred by the world.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) February 18, 2020
Earlier this month the group of Republicans including Ted Cruz (Tx.), Tom Cotton (Ark.) Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) wrote in the letter to Twitter: "While the First Amendment protects the free speech rights of Americans — and Twitter should not be censoring the political speech of Americans — the Ayatollah enjoys zero protection from the United States Bill of Rights."
"And, as the leader of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of U.S. citizens — the Ayatollah and any American companies providing him assistance are entirely subject to U.S. sanctions laws," they added.
Twitter has long defended its position of never banning heads of state from the platform, given the need to publicly articulate a country's positions.
Israeli media has carefully documented Khamenei's recent history of lashing out at "Zionists and Jews" on Twitter; however, as The Jerusalem Post notes, he's long underscored a distinction between political Zionism and adherents of the Jewish religion:
Last year, the ayatollah said Iran is not antisemitic and that Jews live safely in Iran. In June 2019, he contrasted Iran’s treatment of Jews with “certain old Arab leaders who believed Jews should be thrown into the sea.”He says Iran is only opposed to the “Zionist” regime.
Regardless, American politicians and pundits typically view any and all disparaging remarks about 'Zionists' - especially coming out of Iran or the Islamic world in general - as an anti-Semitic trope.