Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, joined the international criticism of race-related violence in the United States on Wednesday with a mocking tweet.
“If US has any power, they better manage their country, tackle #WhiteSupremacy rather than meddle in nations’ affairs. #Charlottesville,” Khamenei’s official Twitter feed posted along with a picture of the supreme leader holding a black child.
Khamenei’s office was responding to the furor in the US over an attack in Charlottesville by a suspected Nazi sympathizer, who plowed his car into anti-racism protesters, leaving one dead and 19 injured.
US President Donald Trump raised another huge controversy on Tuesday by saying there was “blame on both sides.”
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 16, 2017
The deepening divisions in US society have provided ample fodder for the Islamic Republic to deflect allegations of human rights abuses and turn the criticism back on its traditional enemy.
Earlier, the Iranian foreign ministry accused Washington of hypocrisy for its annual report on religious freedom, which was published on Tuesday and sharply criticized Iran.
“It is clear that religious and racial discrimination, Islamophobia, and xenophobia are a widespread and frequent phenomenon among American politicians,” spokesman Bahram Ghasemi hit back on the ministry’s website.
Also on Wednesday, a leading German politician said Trump’s comments on the events surrounding the Charlottesville rally were “highly dangerous.”
Martin Schulz, who is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s main challenger in next month’s election, said Germany has to “do everything to avoid things here going the way they are in America.”
Schulz was asked in an interview with German media group RND about Trump’s comments that “there’s blame on both sides” for the weekend violence in Charlottesville.
In extracts of the interview published Wednesday, Schulz was quoted as saying that “the downplaying of Nazi violence in Trump’s incoherent comments is highly dangerous.”
Schulz, who leads Germany’s center-left Social Democratic Party, said it was important to “stand decisively against those who sow hatred. Always. And everywhere.”