To them, it is completely normal to violate the human rights of people in other countries.
Recently, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and asked him to close down accounts linked to the Iranian Resistance after accusing him of shutting down accounts of “real” Iranians.
He wrote: “How about looking at actual bots in (the Albanian capital of) Tirana used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda spewed out of (Washington) DC? #YouAreBots.”
In August, Twitter, Facebook, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) removed hundreds of accounts uncovered by cyber security firm FireEye that were tied to an Iranian propaganda operation.
The operation involved posing online as Americans who disliked Donald Trump and promoting policies that favoured the Iran Regime; none of which sounds especially like “real” Iranians.
Zarif’s comments about removing social media accounts linked to members of the opposition the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has garnered backlash from the Iranian opposition.
Mohammad Mohadissen, the NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, tweeted: “RIDICULOUS! Mullahs FM tries 2cover up the scandal of the closure of regime’s fake accounts, by asking Twitter 2close Iran resistance accounts, thus mobilized Trita Parsi&other agents &paid TV programs.
The anxiety of the main sponsor of terror from ppl uprising prior 2oil sanctions.”
While Reza Shafiee, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, wrote: “Zarif knows that Iranian people are fed up with the mullahs’ regime and want it gone.
He is nostalgic for the 1980s when the theocratic regime tortured and killed thousands of Iranian dissidents in dark cells… Back then with the exception of families of political prisoners hardly anyone was aware of the full extent of the regime’s atrocities. Had there been social media, it would have been a totally different picture.”
Iranian Internet activists then became a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #WeAreNotBots and posted comments like ‘There’s no robot involved, we are the real people! We’ve been denied our right to free expression and get severely cracked down on freedom of speech and free use of press or cyberspace.”
It is clear that the Regime is increasingly desperate to stop news of its malign behaviour from spreading across the world, lest it lead to more sanctions and more isolation.
They are also terrified of how the Iranian uprising has spread using social media, with protesters using it to communicate, plan, and regroup. That’s why they went to so much effort to slow and block the internet earlier this year.
Mostafa Tajzadeh, a regime strategist close to Rouhani’s camp, said: “Open access to social media is yet another problem. This is unprecedented and we have never faced such dilemmas all at once.”
The biggest problem, however, is that the MEK’s Resistance Units are shining a light on the Regime and its suppression.
Shafiee wrote: “The regime wants this voice silenced at all costs. [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei struggles to keep everyone and most of all Iranian people in the dark. Thanks to social media including Twitter for their work.
Keeping the free flow of information is a must. The Iranian regime simply wants to stifle science and hide the truth.”