Iran’s Supreme Leader Jumps on Ferguson Protests to Attack U.S.Kambiz Foroohar
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has taken sides with the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, criticizing U.S. treatment of blacks in a series of messages on Twitter.
In the past three days, Khamenei has posted nine messages on the issue on his English-language Twitter account, including links to Youtube videos arguing U.S. human rights are worse than Iran’s. “Based in statistics, US govt is the biggest violator of #HumanRights. Besides int’l crimes, it commits crimes against its nation. #Ferguson,” one of them said.
The unrest in Ferguson began when an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed Aug. 9 in the St. Louis suburb by a white policeman. A grand jury decision last month not to bring charges against the officer sparked riots that left dozens of buildings burning.
Khamenei regularly denounces the U.S., often criticizing American “arrogance,” or Israeli influence over its politicians. In a typical example, a tweet on his account on Dec. 1 read: “Our issue w #US is that they are #arrogant, thuggish and greedy.”
From the early days after Brown’s death, the Supreme Leader has highlighted the protests that broke out, as he did in the case of the Occupy Wall Street movement in previous years. He has sought to link such protests to U.S. backing for Israel, one of Iran’s main regional enemies.
“Ppl of US are dissatisfied w/the 1% which spends national funds on supporting Israel. #Ferguson,” he said in an Aug. 21 tweet.
Under Khamenei’s own leadership, Iran’s record on human rights has deteriorated. Executions have surged and conditions for women have worsened, according to the United Nations, while protests alleging election-rigging in 2009 were violently suppressed. Human Rights Watch has charged the Iranian government with systematically torturing political dissenters.