Khamanei signs up Facebook despite ban
Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamanei’s Facebook page displays his photos. AP photoIran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei joined Facebook, even though the social network site is banned in his country due to its use by activists to rally government opponents in 2009.
The Facebook page “Khamenei.ir” displays photographs of the 73-year-old cleric alongside speeches and pronouncements by the man who wields ultimate power in the Islamic Republic, Reuters reported. While there are several other Facebook pages already devoted to Khamanei, the new one, whose number of “likes” quadrupled on Dec. 18 to over 9,000, appeared to be officially authorized rather than merely the work of admirers. The page has been publicized by a Twitter account of the same name that Iran experts believe is run by Khamanei’s office. Khamanei’s Facebook page has so far shared a picture of a young Khamanei alongside the founder of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in the early 1960s.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said it would keep tabs on a Facebook page purportedly created by Khamanei that includes both positive and derogatory remarks from followers, The Associated Press reported. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that officials would look into the site, joking that Washington is curious how many “likes” Khamenei receives.