News and Commentary

Iranian Foreign Minister Tells Social Media Followers To Watch Him On YouTube. There’s Just One Problem.

   DailyWire.com
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, smiles as he arrives for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at United Nations headquarters, July 18, 2019 in New York City. On Thursday afternoon, U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif gave a TEDx talk. The video is available on YouTube.

This week, Zarif directed his Instagram followers to view the talk on YouTube. The problem is that YouTube and Instagram are banned in Iran. Obviously this means the talk was not meant for Iranians but for those covering Iran or working on international politics, but the fact that the Iranian people can’t even watch or respond to his comments is a glaring indictment on the regime.

“After more than four decades of being a diplomat with countless negotiations,” reads a description of the video, according to a translation by Forbes. “Javad Zarif shares his long-earned wisdom about four big mistakes we make in our communications, from small day-to-day talks to negotiation on big global issues.”

As Forbes noted, the “very availability of communications would seem to be something of a quick-fix in that regard.”

The incident highlights the inequality between the regime and its citizens, with high-profile government officials, such as Zarif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, able to create social media profiles and interact with other users. Meanwhile, the average Iranian citizen is blocked from using such platforms.

The Free Beacon’s Brent Scher reported that “Tens of thousands of websites are currently blocked by the Iranian regime, including Twitter and Facebook and nearly half of the most-popular sites on the Internet.”

Forbes also reported that Iran follows China’s approach to social media:

Iran takes a Chinese view as regards [to] online freedoms, blocking access to countless websites including major social media platforms. As in China, this has driven the population to VPNs where proxy sites provide a way through.

Iran is in the midst of building a closed intranet for the country. The ININ—Iranian National Information Network (ININ)—is 80% complete according to state media reports in May. Unsurprisingly, the intent of the closed network is to further isolate the country from “international cyberspace.”

Iran has continued to escalate tensions with the U.S. in recent months. The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien reported Wednesday that “a site run by the terrorist group Hezbollah in Beirut was attacked by what some people suspect was an Israeli drone.” From Berrien:

After the attack, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, ranted, “I say to the Israeli army along the border, from tonight be ready and wait for us. What happened yesterday will not pass. Do not live, do not rest, do not be reassured, and do not bet for a single moment that Hezbollah will allow aggression of this kind.” Hezbollah claims it has 100,000 missiles ready to strike Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, “I heard what Nasrallah said. I suggest to Nasrallah to calm down. He knows well that Israel knows how to defend itself and to pay back its enemies.”

Iran has also shot down multiple U.S. drones and attacked oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. President Donald Trump had planned to retaliate against the regime but changed his mind at the last minute, worrying such retaliation could cost lives when no lives were lost due to the drone strikes.