Ali Shamkhani (Wikimedia Commons) (Wikimedia Commons)
Ali Shamkhani

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An Iranian official’s intimidation was literally lost in translation.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

A senior Iranian official trying to threaten Israel on Twitter instead got egg on his face by mistranslating his tweet in Hebrew.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, sought to claim that Israel would suffer a humiliating ouster from the Holy Land similar to American withdrawals from Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam.

However, the word Shamkhani used for expulsion was “piturim,” which refers to a job layoff.

Analysts and social media were left scratching their heads over Shamkhani’s tweet, which literally translated as, “The end of every occupation is a humiliating job layoff. The fate that befell the United States in Vietnam, #Afghanistan and Iraq is the inevitable fate of Israel.”

The tweet sparked ridicule on social media, with many wondering how Shamkhani made such a glaring mistake.

“Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, seems to be using Google Translate to tweet in Hebrew. Hey Ali, don’t you guys have anyone proficient in Hebrew?” one person responded on Twitter.

Joshua Zarka, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for strategic affairs tweeted back Shamkhani in Farsi.

“1. It’s preferable to learn correct Hebrew. 2. The end of any dictatorship that oppresses its own people is to disappear from the world,” Zarka wrote.

Israeli officials often tweet in Farsi, usually to send certain signals to Iran or to reach out directly to Islamic Republic’s citizens. It’s not clear how those messages are regarded, as Tehran exercises tight internet control.

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