Your Middle East
Last updated: 17 December, 2012

Iran’s supreme leader joins Facebook

The office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launched a Facebook page in his name on December 13, according to Khamenei’s official Twitter account.

At the time of writing, the leader’s Facebook profile has updated three statuses and uploaded a cover photo, which shows Khamenei waving his hand to a crowd of supporters.

The first update mentioned the Ayatollah’s comments on what he describes as an Islamic awakening in the region, a reference to the Arab uprisings in the Middle East. The Supreme Leader now has over 7,000 followers on Twitter and roughly 2,000 fans on Facebook.

Although Facebook has turned into one of the most popular websites in Iran, the government has maintained a block on social media sites in general. Millions of Iranians bypass the government block via VPNs (Virtual Private Network) and proxy servers to socialize with friends in the cyber world.

Iranian websites released the top cleric’s response to one of his followers who asked him to issue a religious decree against using the social network.

“It’s not permitted if it involves immorality (such as promoting corruption, publishing roorback and void contents), if there is fear of sinning or supports the enemies of Islam and Muslims. It’s not banned otherwise.”