The Supreme Leader may have nimble fingers

Is the Iranian regime trying to be a hypocritical laughing stock?

A Twitter account believed to belong to Iran‘s supreme leader has triggered controversy among Iranians whose own access to social networking websites remains blocked.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who has the final word in Iran, has come under intense criticism from Iran’s many bloggers for launching a crackdown on Twitter and Facebook while his office apparently runs a Twitter account under Khamenei_ir.

The official website of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi criticised Khamenei for allegedly signing up to Twitter under the headline: “If it’s prohibited why is it that the leader’s office has a Twitter account?”

Since the disputed presidential election in June 2009, the government has repeatedly condemned Iranians who use Facebook and Twitter, saying the social networking sites were created by Iran’s enemies to topple the Islamic regime.

Iran has also imprisoned many journalists and bloggers for posting comments online – or for simply having accounts on such sites.

Hamzeh Ghalebi, an Iranian blogger sympathetic to the opposition green movement, wrote: “If we assume that using a blocked website is illegal, why are some people banned from using it and others allowed? Aren’t we supposed to be equal before the law?”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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