The Cable

‘Ayatrollah’ Khamenei: Iran’s Leader Uses Freddie Gray’s Death to Blast the United States

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used the protests over the death of Freddy Gray to blast the state of U.S. race relations.

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In the past, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has likened police violence on American streets to unrest in the Middle East. Now he’s seizing on dramatic images of protesters violently clashing with police over the death of Freddie Gray to take the United States to task yet again.

Leading up to Monday’s funeral for Gray, a Baltimore man who died April 19 while in police custody, Khamenei issued a series of tweets Sunday trolling what he called the mistreatment of African Americans by U.S. police. Using the hashtags #FreddieGray and #BlackLivesMatter, the supreme leader also referenced previous incidents where black Americans were killed by law enforcement or wannabe cops, hashtagging #EricGarner, #MikeBrown, and #TrayvonMartin.

Khamenei primed his 119,000 followers with this tweet Sunday afternoon:

He then launched into a series of missives blasting U.S. police for alleged brutality and treatment of minorities. He even offered a lesson on the American civil war.

It would be easy to dismiss Khamenei’s comments as a cynical shot at the state of U.S. race relations. But the containing continuing trend of black Americans dying after scuffling with police makes it hard to ignore the supreme leader’s argument that the United States punishes injustice abroad while tolerating it at home.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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