Ahmadinejad joins Twitter despite having banned it

Iran's former president joins Twitter after acting to ban it while in power.

Elad Benari,

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the latest leader to join Twitter on Sunday, despite the fact that, while in power, he was instrumental in getting it banned in the country.

Ahmadinejad's first tweet from his personal account was a video in which he called on people to follow him at @Ahmadinejad1956, according to the AFP news agency.

Iran is notorious for the limitations it imposes on freedom of expression. Tehran also blocks access to numerous websites, including Facebook and Twitter, to stop Iranians from browsing content it considers immoral, or as undermining the regime.

In addition, the Islamic Republic regularly detains journalists who are deemed to be against the government.

But, despite Twitter being blocked for ordinary citizens, many of Iran's top officials tweet regularly, including current President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also maintains accounts in several languages.

Iranian users who get around the restrictions on social media using privacy software, were quick to point out the irony that Twitter was banned following mass protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election in 2009, according to AFP.

The protests, which followed accusations of election-rigging, were considered the first time in the world the service was used to promote and organize demonstrations, and earned the nickname "The Twitter Revolution".

Ahmadinejad had launched a political campaign and made several speeches in recent months, prompting speculation of a political comeback.

However, in late September Khamenei ordered Ahmadinejad not to run in this year’s elections, and Ahmadinejad complied.




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