Twitter removes Khamenei vaccine tweet for ‘violating’ rules

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Twitter has removed a tweet by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggesting coronavirus vaccines made in the United States and Britain are “untrustworthy”, saying the post violated its rules.

“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,” said a tweet posted Friday on Khamenei’s English-language Twitter account.

“Given our experience with France’s HIV-tainted blood supplies, French vaccines aren’t trustworthy either,” the Iranian leader added in the tweet with the hashtag #CoronaVaccine.

Twitter later removed the tweet and replaced it with a message that said it was “no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules”.

The US social media company announced a policy in December to crack down on what it described as potentially “false or misleading information” about Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Islamic republic has reported more than 1.2 million cases of the novel coronavirus, which have caused over 56,000 deaths.

It has accused arch-enemy the United States of hampering its access to vaccines through tough sanctions.

Last month, President Hassan Rouhani said Washington had demanded Tehran pay for the drugs through US banks, adding he had feared the US would seize the money.

France was singled out by Khamenei on Friday because of a scandal in the 1980s in which blood infected with HIV was distributed in France, and later abroad. Hundreds of people in Iran were among those infected.

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