Iranian officials have probably made the biggest impact on Twitter, engaging in direct digital diplomacy. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei sent his first tweet on 9 April 2009 and now tweets has separate Twitter accounts for English, Persian, Arabic and Spanish. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani tweets in English (@HassanRouhani) and in Persian (@Rouhani_ir), two accounts set up during the presidential election campaign. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweets in English and his tweets often make international headlines.

Tweets from Iran leaders

Religious Leader of Iran

The staff of Iran’s Supreme Leader has been initially tweeting in Farsi but the main account has now switched to English and there are separate accounts for Farsi @Khamenei_fa, Arabic @Khamenei_Ar and Spanish @Khamenei_es to engage with a broader audience on global issues, including the recent #IranTalks. The English account is very active with almost five tweets per day. 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. 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. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Ayatollah Khamenei published an open letter in English addressed “To the Youth in Europe and North America” through which he urged young people to seek out their own understanding of Islam. Right after the letter was published, @khamenei_ir header photo showed the hashtag #letter4u which is now used by young Muslims posting selfies with their favorite Quranic verses. 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 tweets by the late Ayatollah Khomeini @IRKhomeini, engagement on the account is very low, it never @mentions or @replies other users and the account only follows his language accounts.

khamenei_ir avatar


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

Peer connections (as of April 2015)

Tweet analytics (as of April 2015)

Joined Twitter: 03/31/2009
Language: English/Persian
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 4.69
Retweets: 4%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.01
Replies/Tweet: 0.00
Tweets retweeted: 95%
Most mentioned @IRKhomeini (23), @HassanRouhani (5), @JZarif (3), @khamenei_ir (2), @Khamenei_irfa (2), @Khamenei_irAr (1), @PressTV (1), @araghchi (1), @NicolasMaduro (1), @myLetter4u (1).
Average of retweets 44

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 @HassanRouhani 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.” The account is very active with over four tweets per day, however, it is not very conversational with only 17% of retweets, with almost no @reply and very rare @mentions. During the Iran Talks in Lausanne, Twitter was the main channel to convey Iran’s position and messages regarding the negotiations. @HassanRouhani only follows five other accounts including @Khamenei_ir and Foreign Minister @JZarif.

HassanRouhani avatar

Hassan Rouhani


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

Tweet analytics (as of April 2015)

Joined Twitter: 05/05/2013
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 4.48
Retweets: 17%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.08
Replies/Tweet: 0.03
Tweets retweeted: 70%
Most mentioned @JZarif (14), @khamenei_ir (10), @HassanRouhani (8), @Davos (7), @abasinfo (7), @camanpour (7), @AnnCurry (6), @RT_Erdogan (5), @MohamadRezaAref (5), @Rouhani_ir (5).
Average of retweets 71

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 chronicles the Iran past and recent nuclear talks. The account was set up in June 2009, but his first tweet was sent only on 4 September 2013. 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 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.” The account was especially active during the Iran talks in Lausanne at the end of March 2015 to express Foreign Minister Zarif’s opinions regarding the nuclear deal reached. His tweets have been widely retweeted and quoted in the media. His tweet signaling that an agreement has been found on 2 April 2015, is his most popular one. His Twitter stream also features links to his interviews and information on his diplomatic activities. He only follows 15 other Twitter users including @HassanRouhani, @Khamenei_ir, as well as Turkey’s Prime Minister @A_Davutoglu_eng who has not returned the favour.

Jzarif avatar

Javad Zarif


Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran

Tweet analytics (as of April 2015)

Joined Twitter: 06/17/2009
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 0.18
Retweets: 1%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.08
Replies/Tweet: 0.05
Tweets retweeted: 99%
Most mentioned @SenTomCotton (2), @deboltcarpentry (1), @Vinicius_f (1), @sfpelosi (1), @MorganCarlston (1), @wrightr (1), @edgarsrinkevics (1).
Average of retweets 276

First tweet

Foreign Ministry of Iran Iran MFA

IranMFA avatar

Iran MFA


Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Peer connections (as of April 2015)

Tweet analytics (as of April 2015)

Joined Twitter: 02/09/2014
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 4.47
Retweets: 2%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.02
Replies/Tweet: 11.18
Tweets retweeted: 23.25
Most mentioned @JZarif (8), @CyprusMFA (2), @CyprusUN (2), @IKasoulides (1), @FedericaMog (1), @khamenei_ir (1), @Rouhani_ir (1), @OPCW (1)
Average of retweets 2.08

First tweet