According to the NBC:

Two explosions killed at least 84 people in southern Iran on Wednesday at a memorial event for a senior Iranian general killed in a 2020 U.S. drone strike, ramping up tensions in a region already on edge.

The first of two blasts hit around 2,300 feet from the tomb of Gen. Qassem Soleimani in the Kerman Martyrs Cemetery, the semiofficial news agency ISNA reported. It added that the second explosion was around 2,000 feet away.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts — which injured more than 210 people in one of the worst attacks in the Islamic Republic's history.

After the terrorist attack and the increase in the number of martyrs, most of the Iranian opposition groups abroad started to show their happiness about this event in social media and Radio, TV, YouTube, etc.. This is not the first time that Iranian opposition groups are happy about a terrorist attack against the Iranian people. Most of them believe those who participated in General Soleimani's ceremony are government forces or supporters of Iran's ideology and conclude that they deserved to die and we should not be saddened by their death.

Some of the most prominent of these opponents who are in US and Canada are:

and some others. For example Iran International TV aired a program after the terrorist attack with this theme - The events in Kerman are not important for the people of Iran. After ISIS claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, they aired another program with this question Should we sympathize with the victims of this incident?

Some others did not show their happiness and expressed sympathy after ISIS's statement.

Question: Is it legal for the Iranian opposition group or Israelis who speak Farsi/Persian (see for example this tweet - although my question is more about US and Canadian laws) to celebrate or justify a terrorist attack against the Iranian people? I know US and Israeli hostility to Iran is fierce, but does US or Canadian law allow such TV stations or people to celebrate a terrorist attack publicly?

  • 1
    This is a pretty poorly worded question. From the "Isn't it" in the title, to the use of "martyrs". But perhaps you can clarify. Are you asking about the Law in Iran, or the Law in some other country. It's not possible to ask if something is legal, unless you specify a country.
    – James K
    Jan 7 at 12:41
  • On that basis I'm voting to close.
    – James K
    Jan 7 at 12:41
  • 7
    I think Israelis who speak Persian does not really fit into the context of the question - it seems as an attempt to push a theory that Israel is behind the attack. Apart from that, in the US this is probably covered by freedom of speech, although IMHO there is little to celebrate - murder remains murder, even murder in the name of just cause. This is not unlike Palestinian kids distributing candies after a successful terrorist attack, dancing on roofs after 9/11, or the acts on Campuses, dismissing October 7 as legitimate struggle. Jan 7 at 14:53
  • @RogerV. The TV I mentioned hosted an interview with Netanyahu. It also uses persian-speaking Israelis as political experts in its programs.
    – C.F.G
    Jan 7 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


Yes, in the

The First Amendment requires that Congress makes no law that prevents freedom of speech or the press. That means that a law that prevents people from expressing happiness at a terrorist attack is unconstitutional.

That applies equally to the 9/11 attacks, to the Israeli-Gaza conflict, to Iranian-supported terrorist acts in Yeman, and to terrorist actions in Iran.

Celebrating terrorism could well be considered a type of "Hate Speech", but in the US, hate speech is not illegal. unless it contains a threat or incitement to commit a crime.

  • 3
    I don't think that is correct at all - how does antisemitism and Islamophobia factor into the first amendment rights? We have already seen the Biden administration going after some protestors for antisemitism (for allegedly supporting Hamas terrorist actions against Israel). They same contempt would be invited for supporting and justifying an ISIS terrorist attack against muslims.
    – sfxedit
    Jan 7 at 13:05
  • 6
    @sfxedit That is total missing the point! The question is quite simple. Is the celebration of terrorist acts iegal in the US. The answer is yes. Celebrating a terrorist act could well be considered hateful, evil, ridiculous, immoral. It might be utterly condemned by the vast majority of people, and there is no justification for (for example) allowing it on this website. but it is not illegal. If you think this is wrong, please explain what US law you think makes it illegal.
    – James K
    Jan 7 at 13:20
  • 3
    @Bobson Harvard Faces Federal Investigation, Joining These Other Universities—Here’s What Led To It. (In my view, it seems like a witch hunt by the Biden administration to introduce a "chilling effect" on the growing anti-war student movements, by deliberately targeting college administrators).
    – sfxedit
    Jan 7 at 14:04
  • 3
    @sfxedit No. Burning crosses is protected free speech... Placing burning crosses in the front yards of Black families is a threat and not protected.
    – James K
    Jan 7 at 14:44
  • 5
    @sfxedit - That site (psichology answers???) is not a reliable source for US law, or, I suspect, much of anything, given the misspelling of "psychology" in its domain name. It's a fair bet that much of it was written by LLM bots, and it contradicts itself even on the same page: "The United States does not have hate speech laws" versus "The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both."
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 7 at 15:48

Possibly not, in Canada.

The Canadian criminal code contemplates the offense of "instructing to carry out terrorist activity," which is defined rather broadly:

Every person who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any person to carry out a terrorist activity is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Prosecution: (2) An offence may be committed under subsection (1) whether or not (a) the terrorist activity is actually carried out; (b) the accused instructs a particular person to carry out the terrorist activity; (c) the accused knows the identity of the person whom the accused instructs to carry out the terrorist activity; or (d) the person whom the accused instructs to carry out the terrorist activity knows that it is a terrorist activity. 2001, c. 41, s. 4.

It also has the similar offense of "counselling commission of terrorism."

(1) Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence without identifying a specific terrorism offence is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.

Application: (2) An offence may be committed under subsection (1) whether or not a terrorism offence is committed by the person who is counselled. 2015, c. 20, s. 16; 2019, c. 13, s. 143.

Unlike the USA, where direct organization or financing of terrorist activity is required to be criminal, in Canada, all that is necessary is advocating for terrorism to be carried out, whether or not a specific action is implied, whether or not a specific person is addressed, and even indirectly. It is conceivable that if the attacks in Iran were adjudicated as terrorism in Canadian courts, even a statement along of the lines of "it is good to kill people who support the Iranian government" could be ruled to fall under these laws.

That said, the fact that the law is broad and could be applied in such a manner does not mean that it would be interpreted that way in the case in question. Most prosecutions that I have found under this law have been in conjunction with more clear material support or participation in terrorist activities, with the offense of counselling commission of terrorism tacked on at the end. Furthermore, given that the people making the statements are themselves Iranian, I suspect that courts would be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt as to whether their statements actually were encouraging people to commit terrorism against Iranians, whereas the Atomwaffen Division probably would not.

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