State Department to Launch Social Media Strategy to Support Iran Protests

Since protests erupted in Iran, the country's authorities have restricted some social media services like Instagram and Telegram out of fear they will be used to spread news about the unrest
AFP/BERTRAND GUAY

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it will use Facebook and Twitter to communicate directly with Iranians who are protesting against the Islamic regime in favor of democracy and freedom, hours after Iran’s repressive government shut off access to Instagram and Telegram in an attempt to stifle the uprising.

“We support a freedom of the press,” the State Department said in a tweet. “When a nation clamps down on social media, we ask the question—what are you afraid of? We support the people of #Iran, and we support their voices being heard.”

According to Fox News, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the United States will post messages in Farsi on Facebook and Twitter to show Iranians that the United States supports the protests and Iranians in their quest for democracy. Goldstein reportedly said the U.S. is working to enable communication via these two platforms despite the Iranian government’s censorship efforts.

“Even though many social media sites have been blocked, Iranians can reach our State Department FB and Twitter sites, which are in Farsi, through VPN,” Goldstein reportedly said. “We would like Iran to open these legitimate forms of communication.”

Also on Tuesday, Goldstein told the Associated Press that the U.S. wants Iran’s government to “open these sites,” including Instagram and Telegram. “They are legitimate avenues for communication,” Goldstein reportedly said. “People in Iran should be able to access those sites.”

At least 21 people have been killed and hundreds arrested as protests enter their seventh day.

President Donald Trump has vocalized his support for the people of Iran:

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei also took to Twitter to blame the “enemies of Iran” for the civil uprising:

Iran’s current protests are the largest since June 14, 2009, when Iranians took to the streets to protest the fraudulent re-election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who won in a “landslide.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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