The Washington Post

Iranian President Rouhani says ‘friends’ write his English-language tweets, Facebook posts

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he doesn't write his own tweets.

Iran’s fast-tweeting, frequent-status-updating new president has news for his growing digital audience:

He doesn’t write his own stuff.

President Hassan Rouhani told journalists at the World Economic Forum here Thursday that his frequent online postings are “written by my friends.”

The ghostwriters are busy.

Rouhani’s English-language Twitter account has been a key tool in an international charm offensive since his election in June. The tweets — 2,464 as of early Thursday morning, followed by more than 170,000 people — are clearly meant for an overseas audience.

Many Rouhani postings on Twitter and Facebook are upbeat distillations of Iranian foreign policy. But his tweet wishing Jews a happy Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) made news last year — and sparked debate inside Iran — because it marked a U-turn from the derogatory remarks that had been made about Jews by Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rouhani was elected with a mandate to try to strike a deal with world powers that could lift crushing economic sanctions imposed because of the country’s disputed nuclear program.

The kinder, gentler online face that Rouhani presents appears to be part of an effort to explain the Iranian position more widely and win support for what Rouhani calls a pragmatic approach to resolving international doubts about the program.

Addressing the Davos forum earlier Thursday, Rouhani called his political and economic philosophy “prudent moderation.”

Iran struck an interim bargain with world powers that eases some sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. A six-month deadline to reach a final deal began this month.

Martin Baron is the executive editor of The Washington Post.
Anne Gearan is a national politics correspondent for The Washington Post.
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