Twitter co-founder and Chairman Jack Dorsey tweeted an important question to the Iranian President on Tuesday, posing a query that many had been wanting to ask Hassan Rouhani ever since his Rosh Hashanah wishes did the rounds in September.
Here’s what Dorsey posted:
@HassanRouhani Good evening, President. Are citizens of Iran able to read your tweets?— Jack Dorsey (@jack) October 1, 2013
And here’s what people had been saying to Rouhani long before the chairman of Twitter joined in:
@HassanRouhani dear President Rouhani glad to see u on twitter but your message is lost to people in Iran because they cant access it.fix it— Bita Lee (@bitalee) September 26, 2013
@HassanRouhani are you going to lift the ban on Twitter and Facebook in Iran? How are you able to access it, Mr. President?— Karim El Tantawi (@KarimTantawi) September 24, 2013
Tweet from Rouhani to American people awkward on so many levels...PS. Why don't your people have access to twitter? #politicalpickupline?— Emily T (@intellwittylady) September 25, 2013
Since it was the creator of Twitter himself asking the controversial question this time round, the Iranian leader just had to reply.
Referring to his much-hyped interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour, Rouhani posted the following tweet.
Dorsey retweeted and thanked Rouhani for his consideration:
@HassanRouhani thank you. Please let us know how we can help to make it a reality.— Jack Dorsey (@jack) October 1, 2013
Internet censorship in Iran increased under the former government of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter were blocked amid widespread protests against Ahmadinejad in 2009.
Iranians hoped for a less strict online environment under Hassan Rouhani, who is believed to be a progressive and a much more tolerant leader than his predecessors. In June, Rouhani even said that he didn’t support web censorship saying “in the age of digital revolution, one cannot live or govern in quarantine”.
On September 16, the people of Iran discovered that they were able to directly access Facebook and Twitter. Rouhani was widely praised for being a man of his word.
However, a few hours later, the ban was restored by Iranian authorities who clarified that a ‘technical glitch’ and not the government had provided direct access to the social media websites.
Let’s hope Rouhani takes Jack Dorsey’s message seriously and lets Iranians post their tweets like he can.