NEW YORK CITY - The anti-gay Shi'ite cleric, Jawad Al-Khalisi, called on Sunday for the British and US ambassadors to be expelled from Iraq in response to a United Kingdom embassy Tweet recognizing the rights of the Iraqi lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.The British embassy tweeted on March 3 that "We recognize the significant work IraQueer has done to advance the rights of homosexuals. We welcome the recent recognition by the Iraqi government of the right of individuals to live, regardless of their sexual orientation. Live and let others live.” The Iraq-based Al-Khalisi, who subscribes to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s radical anti-Western "Guardianship of the Jurists" system, called the US and the UK "aggressors,"and said their embassies advocate "obscenity and homosexuality.”The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) first documented Al-Khalisi’s anti-gay tirade as well as the British Tweet, which has since been deleted by the embassy.Al-Khalisi, according to MEMRI, wrote on Twitter that clerics and intellectuals should condemn "the behavior of the sinful British and American embassies for their call of deviation."According to MEMRI, the UK embassy Tweet “sparked controversy among Iraqi conservatives, who often view gays as sexual deviants and call for their persecution. The tweet came amid a campaign by pro-Iran clerics and militias to discredit the anti-government protesters who took the streets of Baghdad and cities throughout the Shi'ite-majority south of Iraq since October 2019, calling for a new political system. “MEMRI added that “Iran-backed clerics and militias used the U.K. Embassy tweet as an opportunity to claim that the U.K., the U.S., and the protesters were seeking ‘to demoralize’ the Islamic nature of Iraqi society.”IraQueer is "Iraq's first national LGBT organization," and was founded in 2015.Al-Khalisi denied that the Iraqi government recognized the rights of gays, wrote MEMRI, adding that the cleric claimed both embassies have "violated Iraq's sovereignty.”The Islamic system and regime that Al-Khalisi supports in Iran has executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since 1979, according to a 2008 British WikiLeaks cable.MEMRI noted that “The Iraqi government issued no denial or confirmation on whether it has recognized the rights of the LGBT community, however social media users in Iraq exchanged excerpts from the sixth periodic report that Iraq submitted to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on August 5, 2019.”Article 3 Paragraph 12 of the covenant states that "Iraqi law has no provisions that discriminate against persons of any specific category on the basis of sexual orientation or gender, and it does not sanction or approve the use of violence of any kind against them. Indeed, domestic law protects the rights and freedoms of all persons, including the right to life and to physical integrity."