Netanyahu’s Farsi Twitter handle changes the language, but not the message


Iran has a new unlikely Twitter sensation: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Since creating a Farsi-language Twitter account Monday morning, Netanyahu, who is one of the Islamic Republic’s fiercest critics, has attracted 1,218 followers. Not bad, considering that he has posted only two tweets so far and is following only four people — Netanyahu Twitter accounts in three other languages (Hebrew, Arabic and English) and Ofir Gendelman, the prime minister’s spokesman for the Arab media.

Neither tweet, each railing against the nuclear deal that is expected to be finalized any minute now, breaks new ground for the prime minister. However, according to Foreign Policy, he’s garnered some profane replies, with one user saying “May your eyes be gouged out” and another urging him and “all of your cabinet” to (in less polite language) perform fellatio on Iranians.

While Twitter and Facebook are both officially banned in Iran, according to The Associated Press, Iranians are active on Twitter through proxy servers; and Iran’s top leaders, including President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini have large Twitter followings.

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Israeli analyst, told the AP he suspects Netanyahu’s Farsi appeal, given his strong rhetoric, will be less than effective.

“I’m worried … Netanyahu is going to cause more damage if he continues with the same messages,” he said, according to the AP.

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