Iran takes Facebook very seriously. The site is blocked by the country's web filters and monitored by dissidence-hunting officials, who are so wary of the site that they have threatened the families of Iranian expats for criticizing Tehran's leadership on their Facebook pages. Still, the State Department estimates that 14 million Iranians bypass the filters to access their Facebook accounts. And one of them is Naeimeh Eshraghi, the devoted granddaughter of one Grand Ayatollah Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
The American Enterprise Institute's Ali Alfoneh spotted Eshraghi's page, which lists the maximum allowable 5,000 friends and many, many badges for support for her grandfather and the Islamic Republic he founded. She also appears to like Princess Diana of Wales, soccer, and Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, whom the Iranian government has exiled.
Alfoneh points out that Khomeini himself circumvented the censors in pre-revolutionary Iran, slipping in his sermons on cassette tapes. Eshraghi discusses her Facebook page in an interview with an Iranian Web site, explaining, "It has been most pleasant to get to know the different layers of society."
If it were up the Iranian government her grandfather founded, Eshraghi would of course not have the opportunity to get to know any layers of society through Facebook. It's a reminder of the impossibility – maybe even absurdity – of web censorship that such a public figure as Khomeini's granddaughter would so openly discuss her use of an officially banned Web site that's also remarkably popular. It's just assumed that you circumvent the filters.