Not Achieved
Promise Timeline
This promise was made Post-Election

Unblocking Social Media Networks


Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Youtube are very popular among Iranian users.

The post-election unrest in Iran and especially the violent crackdown of the protests offered a new image of these social networks and their deep impact, both on the increasing number of the Iranian users and on the Islamic Republic’s ruling system.

While Iran’s judiciary held mass trials for large groups of Iranians that had protested the results of the 2009 controversial presidential election, the trial sessions in the court entailed lengthy and detailed indictments about the role of social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

“Facebook and Twitter organize the scattered dissidents”, Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam , commander of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces said. Consequently, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks had a conspicuous role during the 2012 presidential election campaigns.

On March 2011, an online publication close to militia forces of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards offered an analytical review about the extent in which Facebook has infiltrated the 2012 (presidential) election. It had also studied the impact of this specific social network on developments leading to the election. The news site has affiliation to “Basij”, militia forces faithful to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.  The publication had also published a list of threats that Facebook exposes to (the existence of) the Islamic Republic of Iran. It has mentioned that “there are no exact figures about the number of Facebook users in Iran” and it also stressed that “there should be different systems to measure and demonstrate the extent in which Iranians use the social network site, including the 2 million professional users and the 12 million recreational users”. The publication had also mentioned that based on estimated statistics; there are about 27 million Facebook users in Iran”.

Despite the fact that most of the social networking sites were blocked during the 2012 presidential election, social networks were considered the main and key media for Hassan Rouhani and his supporters.  Lifting the restrictions on social networks and easing internet filtering of these sites were among key public demands after the victory of President Hassan Rouhani, the (new) government also welcomed such move since Mr. Rouhani had positively stressed on “public diplomacy”.

For the same reason, a number of ministers, including Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eshagh Jahangiri, Hassan Rouhani’s vice president and Ali Jannati, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance increased their activities in the virtual work internet activities, a decision that faced with the objections and protests by other governmental systems, including the Judiciary. Despite protests, a number of officials in president Rouhani’s government, including Jannati explicitly and publicly promised to remove the filtering from social networking sites, especially the Facebook.

Promise Timeline

Keeping you up-to-date on all changes made to this promise.

September 26

In an interview with Christian Amanpour Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says progress has been made this year but Iran is not ready to provide twitter access.