State Dept. Tweeting in Farsi

The U.S. State Department has set up a Twitter account where it tweets messages in Farsi, a press officer from Foggy Bottom confirmed to LobeLog.

As of writing this, there are three tweets so far from the “USAdarFarsi” twitter feed. The name means ‘USA in Farsi’ in Farsi. Because I’m unfortunately illiterate, I’m waiting on responses from a translator (reader) to deduce just what is in the tweets.

Press officer Andy Laine confirmed to LobeLog that the tweets were being issued from State. “It’s coming from the State Department,” he said. “The account went operational [Sunday].”

Asked who, what department or what desk at State was writing on the account, Laine said he wasn’t sure. “I don’t know who specifically is authoring the tweets,” he said.

The parts of the messages in English lettering used a hashtag — a pound sign (#) with an identifying key word — to allow the tweet to show up for anyone who may be following or searching the #25Bahman hashtag.

25 Bahman is a date on the Iranian calendar that corresponds this year to February 14. The embattled Green opposition movement in Iran planned protests for today in solidarity with Egyptian and Tunisian mass protest movements that have recently outed dictators.

The Greens, Iran’s own mass protest movement in the wake of the disputed 2009 presidential elections, went virtually underground after a large-scale brutal crackdown by authorities.

Media accounts thus far of Monday 25 Bahman’s march through Tehran said that witnesses had reported that tear gas was used against the crowds.

Asked if the use of the #25Bahman hashtag represented and endorsement of the protest or just a means of allowing people to find the tweets through a search, Laine said he didn’t know.

The most recent of the three tweets also included the #iran hashtag.

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.