Monday 6 March 2017

Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad Joins Twitter Despite Ban


Iran’s hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has become the latest political figure to join Twitter, despite having been instrumental in getting it banned in the country.

One of Ahmadinejad’s first tweets from his personal account was a video in which he called on people to follow him at @Ahmadinejad1956.

“In the name of God Peace be upon all the freedom loving people of the world,” he wrote in English.

The Twitter biography reads: “Husband, dad, grandfather, university professor, president, mayor, proud Iranian.”

Despite the service being blocked for ordinary citizens, many of Iran’s top officials tweet regularly, including the president, Hassan Rouhani, and the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Even the office of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, maintains accounts in several languages.

Iranian users – who can get round the restrictions using privacy software – were quick to point out the irony that Twitter was banned after mass protests against Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009.

The protests, which came after accusations of election-rigging, were considered the first time in the world the service was used to promote and organise demonstrations, and earned the nickname the Twitter revolution.

Twitter and other social media sites would go on to play a significant role in protests around the Middle East during the Arab spring a couple of years later.

Ahmadinejad, who was president from 2005 to 2013, has been pushing for a return to frontline politics in the run-up to the presidential election in May.

However, his erratic and insubordinate style saw him fall out with the conservative establishment during his time as president, and Khamenei advised him last year against running again.



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