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RFE/RL: Iranian Social Networking, Hard-Line Style

Author: Golnaz Esfandiari
July 28, 2010

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In the aftermath of Iran's disputed 2009 election and the social networking firestorm it created, some Iranian hardliners have responded with their own networking site -- to fight fire with fire, reports RFE/RL's Golnaz Esfandiari.

"The website of the followers of Khamenei has been created. Please enter with your hijab and after completing your ablution."

With that Facebook post, 29-year-old Iranian Ahmad heralded the arrival of a new social-networking site, called "Velayatmadaran," launched by the Iranian establishment.

The name is a reference to "followers of the velayat," or Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and it's part of an attempt by Iranian officials to get in on the social-networking craze. Like other sites that have proved to be crucial tools for communication, discussion, and the exchange of news and information among members of the opposition -- including Facebook -- Velayatmadaran allows users to network and post pictures, videos, and articles.

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