Object 1: Khamenei.ir Twitter

May 27, 2021


This is a tweet by the Iranian ‘Supreme Leader’, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appealing to international audiences for sanction removal, regardless of whether the US returns to the JCPOA and the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal. The post presents interesting issues with the way information and knowledge are delivered throughout the internet, the access to which is, according to the UN, a basic human right.

The internet age presents significant challenges, such as censorship. Iran only allows a national in- tranet, officially labelled the National Information Network, and yet its leaders use Twitter, which is banned domestically, to deliver propaganda. Some argue that Twitter should consider not allowing such postings or such leaders to have accounts.

This object enriches the exhibition because it shows how different mediums are used to suite partic- ular objectives. The use of a specific language is strategic – English helps the dissemination of information internationally and indicates that the object is not for domestic consumption. Using Eng- lish can nevertheless lead to inequality since it cuts out a large portion of the world’s population. This post bring up interesting issues such as knowledge and technology and the relationship be- tween them.

Iranian leaders may understand that, to reach the largest audience, they must broadcast to different cultural and linguistic groups. However, because different languages have inherent rules of gram- mar and speech, they often communicate in awkward ways, for example the sentence that starts 2“That which is our logical demand…”.

Khamenei is often listed among the world’s top opponents of the Internet yet was one of Iran’s first officials to join Twitter and maintains accounts in several languages, including in English, Farsi and Spanish. 4His team regularly post statements, pictures and infographics, to disseminate information. This object showcases their expedient ‘inconsistency’: restricting freedoms at home and yet using the internet for propaganda. This is a clear limitation to the dissemination of knowledge and the understanding of world issues.

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