Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed Hamas’s October 7 invasion of Israel, which Meta said infringed its guidelines.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has confirmed the removal of accounts associated with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
This action follows criticism over Khamenei’s support for Hamas after the group’s October 7 attack on Israel, which triggered a prolonged conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Reasoning Behind Removal
While Meta did not provide specific details, it cited violations of its Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy as the reason for removing the accounts.
This policy prohibits the presence of organizations or individuals engaged in violence or promoting a violent mission on Meta’s platforms, including those designated as terrorists by the US government.
Response from Iran
Iran’s mission to the United Nations has yet to respond to the removal of Khamenei’s accounts from Meta’s platforms.
Endorsement of Hamas Attack
Accounts linked to the supreme leader had been praising the Hamas attack on Israel, which resulted in casualties and hostage situations. Khamenei himself expressed support for Hamas shortly after the attack, commending those involved in planning it.
Continued Presence on Other Platforms
Despite the removal from Meta’s platforms, Khamenei still maintains an account on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Growing Pressure for Removal
There has been mounting pressure on online platforms to remove Khamenei in recent years, particularly following mass protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022.
Khamenei’s use of Facebook, which is banned in Iran, has drawn criticism, especially considering the platform’s prohibition in the country since the 2009 disputed presidential election.
Iran’s Support for Hamas
Iran has been known to provide arms and support to Hamas, although it is not believed to have directed the October 7 attack. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in significant casualties and tensions across the wider Middle East.
US Sanctions and Political Tensions
Khamenei and his network in Iran have long been targeted by US sanctions, particularly since 2019 when tensions escalated following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.