Toronto Star

Iran’s leader tweets his support for U.S. protests


Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has turned to Twitter to lambaste U.S. authoritie­s for their treatment of minorities, spotlighti­ng Monday’s anniversar­y of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee and tweeting #BlackLives­Matter in solidarity with protesters in New York and Missouri.

In a tweet posted Sunday, Khamenei referred to racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo., asserting: “#Jesus endured sufferings to oppose tyrants who had put humans in hell in this world & the hereafter while he backed the oppressed. #Ferguson.”

He was referring to the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9, which set off months of rioting against authoritie­s in Ferguson and a national debate on law enforcemen­t’s relations with minorities.

Later in the day, the ayatollah added his voice to the campaign against racial profiling by police that accelerate­d with the Dec. 4 death of 43-yearold Eric Garner in New York.

Garner had been put in a chokehold by police officers who stopped him for selling bootleg cigarettes on the street.

“It’s expected that followers of #Jesus follow him in his fight against arrogants and in his support for the oppressed. #BlackLives­Matter,” Khamenei wrote, including the hashtag that has become a rallying cry since the Brown and Garner deaths.

He added the treatment of native Americans in the U.S. to his tweeted laments, noting Monday’s 124th anniversar­y of the 7th Cavalry Regiment massacre of up to 300 captured Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. Khamenei has been among the most anti-American voices in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew U.S.-allied Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

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