Twitter Zaps Iranian Supreme Leader Tweets Calling US-UK Vaccines “Untrustworthy”
Amid the continuing major Twitter purge following Trump’s being permanently banned also across multiple platforms Friday, the US company is now belatedly taking aim at Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Late Friday Twitter removed Khamenei tweets which called US and UK produced coronavirus vaccines “completely untrustworthy”. Twitter said that messages were deemed “misleading”. Here’s what Khamenei said in the now removed tweets which were posted in multiple languages:
“Importing vaccines made in the US or the UK is prohibited. They’re completely untrustworthy. It’s not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations,” he said. “Given our experience with France’s HIV-tainted blood supplies, French vaccines aren’t trustworthy either.”
The timing of the removal, coming the same day Trump’s account was deleted, is interesting given it may be part of Twitter’s attempt to shield itself from widespread criticism of the selective targeting of Trump and American conservative accounts.
Critics have pointed out that top Iranian officials on Twitter have in the past issued multiple messages which could be clearly interpreted as threats of violence.
Reportedly it was specifically the “contaminate other nations” part of Khamenei’s vaccine tweet that triggered the deletion, given the Persian-language message was left standing and it does not contain the phrase.
The provocative message coincided with a televised speech wherein Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to impose a blanket ban on the importing of any vaccines made in the US or UK:
“Foreign companies wanted to give us vaccines so they would be tested on the Iranian people. But the health ministry prevented it,” Rouhani said in televised remarks, without naming the companies or giving further details.
“Our people will not be a testing device for vaccine manufacturing companies,” he added. “We shall purchase safe foreign vaccines.”
After Khamenei’s ban on importing U.S. and U.K. #coronavirus vaccines in #Iran, Rouhani spins the narrative, alleging “foreign companies wanted to give us vaccines so they would be tested on the Iranian people. But the health ministry prevented it.”https://t.co/BbiXY95P5d
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) January 9, 2021
More broadly, Twitter’s targeting a world leader for “misleading” criticism of particular vaccines manufactured by foreign nations presents a host of questions.
Does this mean when a Western leader takes aim at Russian vaccines (like Sputnik V) they’ll be censored or come under scrutiny by Twitter? To what extent will people allowed to even have open discussion over the various vaccines now being developed globally?
Sat, 01/09/2021 – 14:20