Connect to share and comment

You're a good man, Hassan Rouhani

Or so the new Iranian president's Twitter offensive would have us believe.

UPDATE: Since this story was published on Sept. 5, Iranian officials have said that President Hassan Rouhani is not, in fact, on Twitter. The unofficial account in his name is most likely operated by his supporters, who "were active in the cyberspace during the recent presidential election in Iran and used many web pages with titles similar or close to Mr. Rouhani to run their activities," according to presidential advisor Mohammad Reza Sadeq.

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, promised to tone down the "hate rhetoric" espoused by his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

But few thought he'd straight up spread the love. One of his recent tweets does just that.

On Wednesday, he wished Jews a Happy Rosh Hashanah: 

Not everyone is taking the warm wishes at face value, but there's no doubt Rouhani's efforts mark at least a superficial departure from Ahmadinejad's hard line. 

He tweets in Farsi and English, using the forum to preach a variety of reforms and flesh out the message of moderation he declared at his inauguration on Aug. 4.

Rouhani has criticized government meddling in people's private lives, tweeting against censorship and in favor of transparency.

He has preached moderation in general and expressed hopes for better relations with Iran's neighbors.

Here he is with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, the first foreign head of state to visit Tehran since Rouhani’s inauguration.

On Syria, he has used Twitter to encourage dialogue between nations over military action.

He has warned Egypt's army not to "suppress" the country.

Rouhani has pushed for increased women’s participation in government. In August, he went so far as to link domestic security to women gaining equal opportunities.

Rouhani also lauded the appointment of the Foreign Ministry’s first female spokesperson, Marzieh Afkham.

And he's not all serious business. He likes watching movies and surfing the web. Sports, too, make Rouhani's Twitter list of priorities.

On Wednesday, when Rouhani's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, started tweeting, Rouhani showed he had a sense of humor.

And Zarif, refreshingly, showed he's willing to engage with critics. Here's one of his first tweets in which he goes back and forth with Nancy Pelosi's daughter, Christine Pelosi, and even takes a shot at Ahmadinejad.

Slate remarks that Rouhani and Zarif may be taking a lesson from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose Twitter feed can tend toward the, um, random.

Now, all this is Twitter, and not, like, policy changes. Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu warns Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Critics say if his administration is so pro-gender equality, why hasn't a female minister been appointed yet? 

Time will tell. For now, we have a little #hope and a whole lot of tweets. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130905/hassan-rouhani-twitter-rosh-hashanah