Meta removes Instagram accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Meta has deleted the Instagram accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, following months of advocacy by pro-Israel groups. Khamenei’s Persian-language account had over 5.1 million followers, while his English-language account had more than 204,000.

A Meta spokesperson said, “We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy.” This policy mandates the removal of organizations or individuals involved in or promoting violence.

The decision comes amid persistent calls from Iranian opposition and pro-Israel activists, especially after the Hamas-led attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Though Iran and the U.S. deny Iran’s involvement, Khamenei has been accused of lauding the attacks, which resulted in approximately 1,140 deaths, on social media. He has also voiced support for Palestinian resistance against Israeli actions in Gaza and for Houthi rebel attacks in the Red Sea.

Khamenei, in power since Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 death, faced a similar Instagram suspension in 2019 but was later reinstated.

In 2023, Meta was embroiled in controversy over allowing the anti-government slogan “Death to Khamenei” on its platforms, amid widespread protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, following her arrest for violating hijab rules.

Although Facebook, X (former Twitter), and other social media platforms are banned in Iran, many officials, including Khamenei, have circumvented these bans, often using VPNs.