Twitter CEO Calls Out Iran's Rohani Over Social Network Ban

Dick Costolo replies to a tweet by the Iranian president, saying that all Iranians - not just the leaders - should be allowed to use Twitter.

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Iranian President Hassan Rohani gives a press conference in Tehran, Iran, August 30, 2014.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani gives a press conference in Tehran, Iran, August 30, 2014.Credit: AP

Do as I say, don't tweet as I do.

That seems to be the message from Iran, where the short-messaging social network is apparently permitted for the leadership but officially banned for the average citizen.

One tweet – from President Hassan Rohani, who was attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York – prompted a snarky response from Twitter's chief, Dick Costolo, Time magazine reported.

Costolo took advantage of a tweet by Rohani, which addressed Iran's negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear program, to call the president out on the double standard.

Here's the exchange:

.@HassanRouhani Mr. President, enjoying your Tweets from the UN. We would love the Iranian people to enjoy them as well. When will that be?

The Iranian president's Twitter page shows him to be a regular user of the social network.

Rohani has publicly taken positions on media more liberal than those of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

In May he objected to a court's closing of two pro-reform newspapers, and he blocked a proposed ban on the messaging service whatsapp.

And earlier this month Rohani called on the country's senior clerics to accept the Internet as an instrument of education.

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