News / Middle East

    Iranian Supreme Leader 'Likes' Facebook

    A screenshot of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Facebook page.
    A screenshot of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Facebook page.
    Not to be outdone by the Pope’s creation of a Twitter account, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has joined Facebook, a site off limits to most Iranians due to internet filters imposed by the state.

    The public page was launched Friday, and already has over 5,000 likes. It is run by Khamenei’s staff and so far has posted four photos of Iran’s most powerful man.

    The profile picture is his official seal with his handwritten signature and full name in Persian script “Seyed Ali Khamenei,” and the cover photo shows him riding in a car among his followers.

    There are also links to his speeches as well as a picture of a young Khamenei alongside the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in the 1960s.

    The few posts have received a lot of feedback, with hundreds of likes and comments ranging from messages of love to extreme criticism and even wishes for his death.

    Unlike the Pope, who just joined Twitter earlier in December, Khamenei has been using the short messaging site since March of 2009.

    The office of Iran's Supreme Leader also runs a website www.khamenei.ir, an outlet that publishes news and information in 13 languages, and an Instagram site.

    Iranian watchers were not surprised by Khamenei’s move to Facebook.

    “Ayatollah Khamenei and his cohorts have a clear-cut record in using social media tools to spread their message when it suits them,” says Alex Vatanka, a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “There are hundreds of pro-regime websites paid for by the regime. But the playing field is far from level. Inside Iran, the regime is in the enviable position where it can block anyone they don’t like from competing with them in cyberspace. They are not asking for an open contest of ideas, because I am sure the regime thinks – rightly in my view – they will lose that battle."

    Khamenei’s Twitter account has occasionally been used to publish controversial statements. An example was in August, when it published a statement condemning the 2011 takeover of the British Embassy in Tehran.

    The tweet read: “Leader of the revolution in a meeting with students: in the recent takeover of that evil embassy [England], the youth were right in their emotions but their behavior was not right.”

    That was the first time Ayatollah Khamenei publicly condemned the highly publicized attack, which was attributed to students and resulted in Britain cutting ties with Iran.

    While both Twitter and Facebook are blocked by Iran’s Internet censors, they are still widely used by Iranians with the technical know how to get around the bans.

    During the 2009 post-election protests known as the 'Green Movement' in Iran, social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube served as powerful tools for protesters. It allowed them to publish images and videos and convey what was happening in Iran.

    Despite Khamenei’s move onto a banned website, Iran has long claimed it is developing its own national intranet, Halal internet, which officials say will be free of un-Islamic content and will be easier to monitor. Iran recently launched its own version of Youtube called MehrTube.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: BEANCUBE from: Seattle, WA
    December 18, 2012 8:04 PM
    Iranians need to distribute more hardware with Linux around the world. They are available, just find them from China, Korea, and Indonesia, do some test, start an industry, create encriptions and distribute it as a low cost platform for smart-phones, tablets, notebooks and PCs around the world. Don't be isolated by Zionists.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.