Despite Iran’s claims the internet is a corrupting and poisonous influence, the country’s supreme leader has embraced social networking by opening up an Instagram account.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei already has a Twitter account, and now he’s able to share photos with his friends and the world.
Four pictures featuring the supreme leader have so far been posted. They show him with officials including his rival Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praying, and sitting over a copy of the Koran.
The 73-year-old Ali Khamenei, who came to power in 1989, has not yet started following anyone himself, but his twitter page has almost 4500 followers, while over 200 people have subscribed to his Instagram stream.
The internet and social networking have generally been frowned on by Iran’s leaders. Iran had plans to establish its own national information network – a closed system that would operate as an intranet inside the republic.
Three years ago the government shut down internet services across Iran, especially in Tehran, after Twitter and other social networks and photo sharing services were used by Iranians to organize mass protests. The Iranian people used the web to share information and shed light on the regime's brutal repression.