Iran's cabinet joins Facebook, despite official state blocking of social media site
Social media site is blocked in Iran; will the move herald the easing of Internet restrictions in the Islamic Republic?
Almost all of Iran's ministers have opened Facebook pages in what is seen as a move toward greater openness - even though the social media site is blocked in the Islamic Republic.
The Facebook pages of 15 ministers could be viewed in Tehran through a proxy server. Newspapers on Monday hinted the move might herald the lifting of some Internet barriers.
All but one minister signed up this August after the inauguration of centrist- and reformist-backed President Hassan Rohani, who has also opened a page.
Hard-liners see the Internet as a possible corrupting force, but many Iranians use proxies to access banned sites.
"It seems the 'key"' - Rohani's electoral symbol in his presidential campaign - "may turn the lock of [Internet] filtering," the pro-reform Shargh daily said.
Facebook is not the only social media platform being used by the Iranian government's more moderate-leaninbg president - a Twitter account believed to operate with the authorization of Iranian President Hassan Rohani wished Jews worldwide last week a Shanah Tovah, or Happy New Year.
“As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” the tweet posted Wednesday said.
The office of the recently elected Iranian president has not denied that the account, @HassanRouhani, is his and it is believed that it would not persist without his approval.
Rohani was elected this year as a relative moderate ostensibly willing to make Iran’s nuclear program more transparent, but resisting calls by Western states and Israel to reduce Iran’s uranium enrichment.