• 19 October 2010
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Khamenei is now following you on Twitter

Everyone in Qom, get out your cell phones and cameras, because the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei wants you to send him your videos and pictures of him when he visits today so that he can post them on his website.

Ironic that Khamenei is suddenly a champion of citizen journalism, considering that he and his government were attacking and silencing Iranians who tweeted, blogged, took videos, and emailed pictures during the 2009 election aftermath.

But a major PR blitz is underway as Ayatollah Khamenei ventures to Qom today, his 3rd official visit to Qom since his appointment as Supreme Leader in 1989, including the calls for Iranians to get involved through social media, and a campaign to paint people’s cars and vehicles calling Khamenei an Imam.

How can Khamenei promote social media when, at the same time he has a cyber police task force, stomping on people’s doorsteps anytime someone sends an email to their cousin in America insulting the Iranian government? This is the same government that worked to permanently suspend Gmail, filters the internet, and recently began blocking the web page of its former President. But now the Supreme Leader tweets.

Public relations stunts aside, there has been some speculation as to why Khamenei has decided to visit Qom now during such an interesting political climate both internationally and domestically. The main reason behind his visit seems to be because he’s getting a lot of criticism from the clerics. About two weeks ago, Ayatollah Ali-Mohammad Dastgheib criticized Khamenei for taking his role as Supreme Leader too far. He insinuated in a dense theological verdict, that the Supreme Leader’s role is technically more limited then the current role he plays. According to Dastgheib, Khamenei’s role is “to coordinate the efforts of the three branches of government and to prevent the violation of citizens’ rights by the three branches.” In addition, a group of dissident clerics issued a letter warning the community of clerics of Khamenei’s visit. Other critics of Khamenei include, Ayatollah Yusef Sanei and Ayatollah Assad Bayat-Zanjani.

With sanctions and nuclear pressure on the rise, not to mention upcoming talks with the P5+1 countries in November, it seems that Khamenei wants to unify the clerics to stand against “western influence”. But at the same time, he is trying to harness the same social media tools that are derided as being “western influence” when Iranians use them to promote civil rights.  Khamenei has said that “the media is more powerful and dangerous than nuclear weapons.” By getting into social media, it seems what he is trying to do is, “keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer.”

Posted By Lily Samimi

    2 Responses to “Khamenei is now following you on Twitter”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Lily, please read this:

    Continuing to distort the Iran debate: Why ignore mass crowds for Ahmadinejad and Khamanei?
    By Flynt and Hilary Mann Leverett


  2. Nima Badri says:

    President Obama!
    As a US citizen and father of a Persian Gulf Navy Veteran and long time taxpayer who voluntarily helped your election campaign and other Democratic campaigns as an e-group leader and voted for Democratic Party for about 30 years, I’d like to ask you regarding our Foreign Secretary Assistants comments and our Navy Department officials who I voted for them as I voted for you this question: What kind of rights do we have to tamper with a 7000 years historical landmark of the PERSIAN GULF which has been recognized internationally and registered by the UNITED NATIONS that we host and are a significant member of that world body as the Persian Gulf? By us breaking the international law and call it an illegal term of a.r.a.b.i.c gulf, we are making a horrible mistake? I always thought America’s founding father established our constitution and governing system based on law and order and honesty and fairness and promoting democracy around the world, but unfortunately today I see the opposite side of it. For over 300 years of American existence, this is the first attempt by our government to unlawfully and illegally changing an ancient LANDMARK which left from the PERSIAN EMPIRES who ran the world for thousands of years and Cyrus of Great left the first DECLERATION of HUMAN RIGHTS ever “please refer to the UNITED NATION CHAPTER and the world ancient history or even Jewish Torah and Bible or other ancient religion books”. By doing this act, we are hurting, insulting and injuring the hearts of 75 millions Iranians/Persians at home and abroad who they are mostly pro America and pro West. They have been struggling to free Iran from Arab Mullahs regime for 31 years and the Persian Gulf has nothing to do with Iran’s present regime. Iranians are not Arabs they are Persians and they will remain with Persians cultures and identities for ever and they love democracy as well. With the decision like this forging the Persian Gulf, American government is actually helping Islamic Mullahs regime to get support from all the 75millions of Iranian/Persian and the same time America is loosing trust, support, prestige and respect among those majority of Iranians/Persians who trusted and cared for American democracy and Americans way of life for many years. Some figures show about one million of the American/ Iranian people are law obedient citizens who live, work hard and vote in American society. Although we have not forgot 9/11 attack on WTC and Pentagon by Saudis, Arabs hijackers who murdered more than 3000 of our innocent Americans and the same day as we watched it on TV, Arabs all over the Arab world specially in Saudi Arabia and little sheikdoms around the Persian Gulf region celebrated and danced in the streets passed candies and cookies around and called the attacks punching to the nose of Imperialism of America. They also called their newborn boys Osama while they called Osama an Arab hero and the same day I heard in the news that Iranian people in Iran and abroad used candle lights vigil to commemorate Americans deaths. We all know Al-Qaida is rooted and established, financed by Saudi Arabia royal family and we found out about money transferred to some Saudi hijackers by them. Osama is an Arab from Saudi Arabia who architected almost all the recent attacks on American soil and Americans abroad. As I remember our late Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in 1968 by an Arab from Jordan named Sirhan. Sirhan, few months ago, Major Hassan an Arab killed some Americans, Africa’s duel Embassy bombing by Arabs which killed Americans, USS Cole attack by Arabs killed 17American sailors, Pan Am 103 was bombed by Libyan Arabs over Lockerbie and killed about 300 Americans in 1988 and WTC attack in 1993 by Arabs killed Americans and many more as well. I’d like our Foreign Ministry and Department of Navy to read some ancient history and history of terrors and destructions in American soil and abroad. We should not just forge the ancient history to appease Arabs who never had identity from their own and have been stealing the Persian and others identities many times previously. We can’t change the historical facts because of some little Arab kingdoms with no democracy and human right values around the Persian Gulf region which never existed 50 years ago or they were parts of Persian Empire before. Simply because we do business with Arabs, that does not mean they like America and Americans. Arabs are opportunists mostly Sunni Muslims always believed Americans and Westerners are infidels and nonbelievers and must die or convert to Islam’s Sunni Wahabi branch they spend billions of dollars a year financing terrorist organizations around the world and recent Wikeileaks reports providing some evidences regarding Arabs are major funders of international terrorism. Only their cruel dictator leaders who are not popular among their own people desperately need our present and support in order to stay in power, not their population. The US Foreign Ministry and Department of Navy should instead of hurting and insulting Iranian/Persian population they could provide them with political and moral support to fight back the dictatorship of Arabic Islamic regime and free Iran. They are fighting constantly and perishing daily to save their country and bringing back the Persian values along with democracy and human rights not Islamic Arabic values. Thank you for your time. May God Bless America.
    Sincerely Yours
    Concern Citizen

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Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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