Iran’s Tweet Diplomacy

Iran expert Scott Lucas comments on the disparate messages coming from Rouhani’s advisers, namely the one who denied the legitimacy of the Rosh Hashanah tweet via the state-run Fars News Agency:

We believe this is pressure from Fars and the Revolutionary Guards to Rouhani’s team to back off from their moderate positions on Israel and especially Syria. … It’s a legitimate account and [Rouhani] has said that this is the only official account of the president on Twitter.

Fisher points out that the advisor did not “directly dispute the English-language account or say the tweets don’t represent Rouhani’s views”:

The non-denial denial is perhaps in response to the Western media attention to this tweet, but it raised more questions that it answered. Tehran-based reporter Amin Khorami, Al-Monitor’s Arash Karami and others say that the account is actually run by the media office of Rouhani’s presidential campaign team. The campaign has been over for a couple of months, so it raises the question of whether the people running the account continue tweeting in an official or unofficial capacity and whether or not they coordinate directly with Rouhani or his office. The prevailing speculation among Iran-watchers is that Rouhani may be keeping the account semi-official to inure him from criticism by internal hard-liners while allowing continued gestures of good faith toward the West. Although one Iran analyst suggested to me that Washington may be overstating the account’s significance in representing Rouhani’s views.

Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign minister continues to mix it up on his new Twitter account:

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