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Netanyahu launches ‘Real face of Iran’ Twitter campaign against Khamenei

Netanyahu launches ‘Real face of Iran’ Twitter campaign against Khamenei
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a Twitter campaign invoking “The Real Face of Iran” just in time for revived international talks on Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva Thursday.

The campaign is aimed at the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the recent protests in Iran that marked the 34th anniversary of the siege on the US Embassy in Tehran, during which demonstrators chanted “Death to America” and burned American flags.

The Prime Minister’s official Twitter feed displayed late Monday a photo of demonstrating Iranians burning US flags and another of Khamenei denouncing America this week.

The “The Real Face of Iran” campaign used the hashtag #StopTheCharmOffensive. “Retweet and Keep the Pressure On” one of the first tweets of the campaign said.

Several top Israeli officials retweeted the images.

Despite the opposition to anti-American expressions from Iranian President Hassan Rohani and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Netanyahu cited them during a Monday news conference while visiting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and during an interview with Israeli English-language television channel i24News, Haaretz reported.

“There’s a debate in the West today,” Netanyahu said during the press conference in Poland.

“People are saying: What is the true face of the Iranian regime? Because they have obviously changed their style. They speak now in English and they smile. They smile in the talks in Europe. But that regime, which is controlled by Khamenei, has tens of thousands of people on the streets of Tehran today chanting ‘death to America,’ celebrating the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979, 34 years ago. They’re celebrating, and Khamenei, who is the real ruler of Iran, yesterday says: ‘America is the most hated country in the world. You can’t believe a word of what they say.’ And he fuels that hatred. That’s the real Iran,” Netanyahu said.

“Do we want this country to have nuclear weapons?” Netanyahu continued. “And the answer is: Absolutely not. … America and the P5+1 should listen to the chants of ‘Death to America’ in Tehran, give no discounts to Tehran.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (AFP Photo / Iranian Presidency)

Thursday’s meeting in Geneva with the so-called P5+1 group of world powers - five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany - will be the second since Rouhani assumed office in August. 

Rouhani received widespread media coverage during his attendance at last month’s UN General Assembly in New York, which was widely seen as the first opportunity for the US to reengage with the Islamic Republic since the election of its new leader.

The talks are aimed at curbing the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment program in exchange for ending international sanctions that have battered the country’s flagging economy.

The West has accused Iran of clandestinely developing nuclear weapons technology, a claim the country has denied.

In September, US President Barack Obama vowed the United States would "take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran."

On the eve of the anniversary of the US Embassy seizure, Iran's Supreme Leader warned hardliners in the country not to undermine upcoming nuclear negotiations in the West. He remained critical of Washington’s two-pronged approach to the Islamic Republic, however, warning "We should not trust a smiling enemy."

Ayatollah Khamenei's comments were meant to bolster moderate Rouhani ahead of the nuclear talks.

“[Diplomats] are on a difficult mission and nobody should weaken those who are on assignment,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei, the highest ranking political and religious authority in the country, as saying.

“Nobody should consider our negotiators as compromise-seekers,” he said.

Khamenei also praised the militant students who stormed America’s diplomatic mission several decades prior.

"Thirty years ago, our young people called the US Embassy a 'den of spies'... It means our young people were 30 years ahead of their time," he said in reference to recent revelations that the US has spied on 35 foreign leaders, including allies.