The revelation that Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi has no Twitter account has caused a fiasco, because an existing account was tweeting in his name until now.
Mohammad-Mehdi Rahimi, head of Raisi’s public relations office on Tuesday said the president has no account on Twitter. The announcement has left many wondering about the identity of those behind the account thought to be the president’s official account, as it introduces itself. The account has been tweeting in his name since before he won the controversial presidential elections of June 2021.
According to Twitter the account was created in March 2021. It has been in regular use since May 26, 2021, more than 3 weeks before the election, and has over 173K followers including Chief Justice Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and the official news agency IRNA. The last tweet from the account which posted a quote from the president was posted on August 12th.
Most official news agencies and pro-Raisi news websites retweeted the tweets from @raisi.com account in Raisi’s name throughout this time but the president’s media team never denied their authenticity until now.
“Denial of authenticity of Raisi’s Twitter is one of the greatest blunders of the president’s media team … The question arises, if the account belongs to him, how come nobody is taking responsibility for it. Has something been said there that doesn’t suit the purposes of Raisi’s team?” reformist Rouydad24 asked Wednesday.
The second scenario is that there is a Twitter account in Raisi’s name that nearly all ministers, vice presidents, as well as the official government and cabinet accounts follow, retweet, and quote but nobody knows who it belongs to, Rouydad24 added.
Raisi registering as a presidential candidate on May 15, 2021
“This is even a bigger blunder. One should ask not only the administration’s media team, but also security and intelligence bodies, how such a blunder could happen without anyone noticing?How is it that a fake Twitter account was publishing the Iranian government and president’s official stances, and no one investigated the matter for once?” Rouydad24 asked.
The semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, was the first to report on June 1, 2021 that Raisi had officially joined Twitter. ISNA provided a link to the account.
Many of the earlier tweets posted on the account were written in first person voice and expressed then-Chief Justice and presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi’s views on domestic and foreign policies, including accusations against his predecessor’s government and his election rivals.
“I have been making calls and consultations to make the elections more competitive and inclusive, which you and [the disqualified candidates] themselves may not know about, since yesterday evening when I found out about the vetting results,” the very first tweet made from the account said.
The tweet referred to the controversial disqualification of three of Raisi’s main rivals — former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri – by the election watchdog, the Guardian Council.
Later tweets, after Raisi took office, often described his administration’s approach to US sanctions, negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers (JCPOA), selling oil, and regional and international matters. These tweets were regularly quoted by both domestic and foreign media.
Instagram is the only major social media platform not blocked in the country where other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Telegram cannot be accessed without the use of anti-filtering software and VPNs (virtual private networks).