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Iranian Conservatists are Angry at FM's Media Diplomacy: Tweet Diplomacy No Substitute for Ahmadinejad's Courage

By Firoozeh Matin, Rooz Online

The continued presence of Iran's new Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Facebook and Twitter, the latest encounter involving well-wishes to the Jews on Rosh Hashanah which brought forth a high visibility response from Nancy Pelosi's daughter Christine, has received wide international coverage.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif

On the other hand, the conservatists inside Iran have responded negatively to the presence of Iran's cabinet ministers on social media networks and in addition to the expression of dissatisfaction have also relegated the issue to a criminal review workgroup.

Hyper reactions to Zarif's exchanges on Facebook heightened when the foreign minister personally responded to Christine Pelosi's remark that the Jewish "New Year would be sweeter if ... Iran ended its Holocaust denial" by responding that Iran had never denied the Holocaust and that the man who had denied it was gone.

Speaking to Iran's conservative news agency Tasnim after the tweets Zarif said this about his tweet: "The issue came up after my response to a tweet, which later turned out to be from the former US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's daughter. We must not allow them to present a fabricated image of Iran. Iran has always denounced any killings of humans and inline with that has denounced the killing of Jews by Nazis just as it denounces the killing and suppression of Palestinians by Zionists and we will not allow Zionist murderers to coverup their crimes by misusing this event (i.e. the Holocaust)."

Zarif's twitter exchange with Christine Pelosi

But many foreign sites welcomed Zarif's response saying it was a good departure from the extremist views and remarks of Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the conservatists in Iran took a different view.

Raja news agency - associated with supporters of Ahmadinejad - for example called Zarif's response "disgraceful." It wrote, "While those individuals who judge and interpret public diplomacy with such events as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at New York's Columbia University, and the great wave it produced across the world, are now disappointed to see the level of events drop to such low dimensions as messages on Tweeter, but it appears that this Tweeter event has fully pre-occupied the foreign minister and his associates, so that if they called Ahmadinejad's great and global action 'populism', what shall this humiliating Tweeter event be called?"

It continued, "In view of the record of the foreign policy team of the new administration, it is not realistic to expect it to have the courage to publicly challenge the popular and major historic mistakes such as the Holocaust. But to belittle those who had the courage to create such a wave over a major historic lie is definitely unacceptable and even questionable, but this is something that is advanced and pursued by Western media."

Another conservative website, Sarat, strongly criticized Rowhani's administration and wrote, "Do not be surprised if in the coming days we hear of news report that the minister of intelligence of the current government has posted exposes on his personal Facebook page."

These and many other similar protests in the public and private domain resulted in a response from the secretary of the Criminal Content Examination Group. As reported by Fars news agency, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi has said, "The contents of the personal social media sites of cabinet ministers belonging to the eleventh cabinet (of Hassan Rowhani) shall be examined. Some have asserted that the content of websites on the social networks have been criminal in nature. The issue of examining this has been raised in the group which shall make the appropriate comments. The group holds weekly meetings on Wednesdays and this issue will most likely be raised in its next gathering."

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... Payvand News - 09/11/13 ... --

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