Iranian officials have probably made the biggest impact on Twitter, engaging in direct digital diplomacy. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani tweets in English (@HassanRouhani) and in Persian (@Rouhani_ir), two accounts set up during the presidential election campaign. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei sent his first tweet on 9 April 2009 and now also tweets in Arabic @Khamenei_irAr. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweets in English and has become one of the best twiplomats.

Religious Leader of Iran

The staff of Iran’s Supreme Leader has been tweeting in Farsi, and more and more in English to engage with a broader audience on global issues. In May 2012 his office tweeted an infographic about the ”Outcomes of #Iran's resistance on #nuclear issue" with "information extracted from 44 speeches delivered over the past 9 years (2004-2012) by Ayatollah Khamenei". In June 2013 just before the Iranian presidential elections he posted an infographic comparing the US indirect and the Iranian direct electoral system. His team frequently uses pictures to document his meetings and his quotes, live tweets his Friday prayers and tweets links to the full text of his speeches. The existence of his Twitter account, while Twitter is officially banned in Iran, has been criticized by Iran’s opposition leader Hossein Mousavi. Other than retweets of his tweets, engagement on the account is very low.

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Follow for regular updates and news about Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader --- Spanish Account: @Khamenei_es

Peer connections (as of November 2014)

Tweet analytics (as of November 2014)

Joined Twitter: 03/31/2009
Language: English/Persian
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 4.83
Retweets: 3%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.01
Replies/Tweet: 0
Tweets retweeted: 95%
Most mentioned @IRKhomeini (21), @khamenei_ir (2), @JZarif (2), @Khamenei_irFa (2), @vkhurana19 (1), @PressTV (1), @HassanRouhani (1), @Khamenei_irAr (1)

First tweet

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani

The Farsi Twitter account of Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani (@Rouhani_ir) was set up on 22 April 2013 and the English account was created two weeks later on 5 May 2013 by his campaign staff. The account’s main objective is to show a new Iran after the Ahmadinejad era. @HassanRouhani made international headlines on 27 September 2013 when he tweeted the details of his telephone conversation with President Obama, the first direct contact between an American and Iranian President since 1979. The tweets were later deleted but are still available here. When Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted President Rouhani asking whether Iranian’s were able to read his tweets, @HassanRouhani responded: “Evening, @Jack. As I told @camanpour, my efforts geared 2 ensure my ppl'll comfortably b able 2 access all info globally as is their #right.” However, the account is not very conversational with only 16% of retweets, including Swedish Foreign Minister @CarlBildt. The most popular tweet is Happy New Year greeting to all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, sent on 4 September 2013. @HassanRouhani only follows six other accounts including @Khamenei_ir and @JZarif.

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Hassan Rouhani


Iranian President's Sole English Account ¦ Persian @Rouhani_ir ¦

Tweet analytics (as of November 2014)

Joined Twitter: 05/05/2013
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 5.51
Retweets: 16%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.08
Replies/Tweet: 0.03
Tweets retweeted: 70%
Most mentioned @JZarif (14), @khamenei_ir (9), @HassanRouhani (8), @Davos (7), @camanpour (7), @abasinfo (7), @AnnCurry (6), @RT_Erdogan (5), @Rouhani_ir (5), @MohamadRezaAref (5)

First tweet

Foreign Minister of Iran Javad Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, uses his personal Twitter account to engage in English with an international audience and mainly chronciles the Iran nuclear talks with the hashtags #ViennaTalks and #Nuclear being the most used hashtags. The account was set up in June 2009, but his first tweet was sent on 4 September 2013 “hoping to be able to #interact and stay in touch”. What marked Javad Zarif’s debut on Twitter though, is his tweet that wished Jews a “Happy Rosh Hashana”. He then had an exchange with Nancy Pelosi’s daughter (@sfpelosi) about the alleged Iran’s Holocaust denial tweeting that: “Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone. Happy New Year.” His Twitter stream also features links to his interviews and information on his diplomatic activities. The most retweeted tweet was sent at 3am on 24 November 2013 after Iran and the West reached an agreement at the nuclear talks in Geneva: “We have reached an agreement.”

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Javad Zarif


Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran

Tweet analytics (as of November 2014)

Joined Twitter: 06/17/2009
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 0.23
Retweets: 1%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.06
Replies/Tweet: 0.05
Tweets retweeted: 99%
Most mentioned @deboltcarpentry (1), @Vinicius_f (1), @sfpelosi (1), @MorganCarlston (1), @edgarsrinkevics (1), @wrightr (1)

First tweet