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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Free Speech Warrior?: New at Reason

The former president of Iran, who once banned Twitter, discovers the joys of social media.

|||POOL New/REUTERS/NewscomPOOL New/REUTERS/NewscomWhen Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president of Iran, he banned Twitter. Now he is the platform's No. 1 fan. "Any type of restrictions on ideas and beliefs especially on #SocialMedia will lead to chaos and dictatorship. #FreedomOfSpeech," he tweeted in September.

Since leaving office in 2013, the infamously repressive Ahmadinejad has become a vocal critic of current President Hassan Rouhani. Like many politicians around the world, Ahmadinejad in opposition has become a proponent of freedoms he was unwilling to extend to his own critics while in office.

Ahmadinejad has developed a vocal presence on the internet since creating his Twitter in March 2017. In English, he's weighed in on everything from the gold standard (under the hashtag #DictatorshipOfDollar) to NFL player Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality, sparking a brief flame war with Ted Cruz. The tweets are meant to establish "a reputation as an anti-imperialist supporter of the 'oppressed' globally," says Sina Toosi, a researcher at the National Iranian-American Council..

But in Persian, Ahmadinejad has largely used the site to attack the current government, writes Matthew Petti in his latest post at Reason.

Photo Credit: POOL New/REUTERS/Newscom

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