A Twitter account affiliated with Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
, posted an image over the weekend that appears to portray U.S. President Barack Obama
holding a gun to his own head.
The picture shows a silhouetted figure holding the gun. No facial features are visible -- only a white shirt, red tie and a Stars and Stripes lapel pin stand out from the shadow.
"US president has said he could knock out Iran's military," the tweet says.
It then continues with a quote attributed to Khamenei from July 18 that's written out in full on the image: "We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but if any war happens, the one who will emerge (the) loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S."
Account regularly criticizes U.S.
It's unclear how much involvement Iran's Supreme Leader has in deciding what's posted on the account, @khamenei_ir
, which describes itself as providing "regular updates and news" about him.
Some of its posts are first-person statements from Khamenei, others refer to the leader in the third person alongside photos of him at events.
Strong criticism of the United States and Israel are recurrent themes, including posts in recent months about racial tensions in places like New York, Ferguson and Baltimore
The tweet with the gun image has been retweeted more than 1,750 times since it was posted Saturday, far more than other recent posts.
'A pattern of things that give us very serious concern'
"The Supreme Leader says many things that we find completely objectionable," White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said in response to a reporter's question
about the image Sunday during Obama's visit to Kenya.
"This is of a pattern of things that give us very serious concern about the Iranian government, whether it's their support for terrorism, their threats to Israel and the United States, or outrageous statements or images that may emanate from the Iranian government," he said.
The Obama administration is committed to implementing the deal aimed at reining in Iran's nuclear program "precisely because we have such differences with this government that they cannot be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon," Rhodes said.
Khamenei said earlier this month
that the nuclear agreement would not alter Iran
's policies toward "the arrogant government of the United States."