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Babson College Official Suspended After Facebook Post Urging Iran to Bomb US Cultural Sites

Sustainability Director Asheen Phansey has apologized for what he called "sloppy humor" and insisted he is opposed to all violence

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Babson College said it has suspended a staff member who wrote a Facebook post urging Iran to create a list of U.S. cultural sites it would bomb.

The staff member, the college's sustainability director, has since apologized to his colleagues for what he called a "bad attempt at humor."

According to the Boston Herald, the since-removed post said that in retaliation for the U.S. killing Iran's most powerful military commander, "Ayatollah Khomenei should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb." The Mall of America and the Kardashian residence were two locations cited by the Babson employee.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Wellesley, Massachusetts-based college said it condemns "any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate. This particular post from a staff member on his personal Facebook page clearly does not represent the values and culture of Babson College."

The Babson statement said that even though the posts have been deleted, the employee was immediately suspended with pay pending the completion of an internal investigation.

Local lawmakers in Massachusetts are speaking out on the tension between the U.S. and Iran.

The school also said it is cooperating with local, state and federal authorities.

Babson College sustainability Director Asheen Phansey released his apology, in which he said he is opposed to all violence, several hours after the school announced it had suspended him:

I regret my bad attempt at humor. As an American, born and raised, I was trying to juxtapose our 'cultural sites' with ancient Iranian churches and mosques. I am completely opposed to violence and would never advocate it by anyone. I am sorry that my sloppy humor was read as a threat. I condemn all acts of violence. 

I am particularly sorry to cause any harm or alarm for my colleagues at Babson, my beloved alma mater, and the place where I have enjoyed teaching students and serving as its sustainability director.

Phansey is active in corporate sustainability, serving as the board treasurer of the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund andhaving testified on carbon legislation at the Massachusetts State House, according to his biography on the Babson College website.

Babson hasn't said how long the investigation into Phansey's comments will take.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Coleimani was killed last week in an American drone strike in Baghdad, prompting angry calls to avenge his slaying and drawing crowds of Iranians to the streets to mourn him.

Iran struck back at the U.S. early on Wednesday, firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house American troops. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The death of Gen. Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, is expected to dramatically increase tensions between the United States and Iran.
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