March 6, 2020
In a rare barrage of tweets with a hashtag #IndianMuslimslnDanger, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the Indian government on Thursday, March 5, for the recent deadly Hindu-Muslim clashes in new Delhi.
Joining voices with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the eighty-year-old Khamenei tweeted in Arabic, English, Persian, and Urdu attached to a photograph of a child grieving over the body of a man killed in the violence.
While urging India to stop Hindu-Muslim violence in New Delhi, Khamenei has insisted in his tweets, “The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India.”
Days earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had criticized India for the deadly clashes.
In a tweet last Monday, Zarif said Iran “condemns the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims.”
“For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail. The path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and the rule of law,” the Iranian Foreign Minister’s tweet said.
Immediately after the tweet, India on Tuesday summoned the Iranian ambassador in Dehli to protest Zarif’s comments.
According to the Times of India, officials told the Iranian Ambassador Ali Chegeni, “Zarif commented on a matter which is purely internal to India.”
Disregarding New Delhi’s response to Zarif, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader said in his tweets, “The Indian government should confront the extremist Hindus and stop the massacre of Muslims.”
Khamenei has the last word on all primary security and foreign policy decisions in the clergy-dominated Iran.
However, Khamenei has always stayed away from criticizing China and Russia for the maltreatment of their Muslim minorities.
India was one of Iran’s major oil customers until U.S. sanctions stopped all purchases and most of bilateral trade.
On September 14, 2018, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, lambasted Khamenei for failing to speak out over China’s reported detention of large contingents of its Muslim minority population.
Khamenei “fancies himself the leader of the Islamic world, but his regime has been totally silent as China — the top buyer of #Iran’s oil — has persecuted and detained hundreds of thousands of its Muslim citizens,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
India has not yet reacted to Khamenei’s barrage of tweets.
Tensions between Hindu hard-liners and Muslims protesting the Hindu-first policies of Modi’s government had been building for months when the violence occurred Sunday night, February 23.
The violence flared as rival groups clashed over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA. For four days, enraged protesters from both sides, armed with sticks and stones, set fire to shops, schools, and homes, and terrorized neighborhoods until the police finally managed to control the unrest.
According to the CAA, non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan can become Indian citizens quickly if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government insists that this is required to assist minorities from those mainly Muslim countries.
The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has announced that it intended to approach India’s Supreme Court about the new citizenship law.
Hindus and Muslims clashed in the north of New Delhi and left at least 40 dead and hundreds injured so far.