Q&A: Tweeting from Tehran

Shahrazad tells Al Jazeera what message she's trying to get across via Twitter.


    Twitter's role in the Iran protests has raised questions about the accuracy of user-driven media

    Online social networking has played a big role throughout the Iranian elections.

    The oppostion used it to organise their campaign, then to get out the vote, and eventually to plan the enormous protests that followed the counting of the votes.

    But not all those who are part of the information uprising in Iran are against the government.

    Al Jazeera English spoke to one pro-government user of Twitter, the social networking website, who is known in the Iranian blogosphere by the nickname Shahrazad.

    Al Jazeera: You are part of the 'information uprising' in Iran - why are you doing it?

    Shahrazad: I just feel the need for a reliable source in this world of rumours.

    I saw that some people are using this opportunity to mislead non-Iranians.

    There are many fake Twitter accounts right now which just make everything so twisted and untrue.

    External links

    Read Shahrazad's blog
    Follow  Shahrazad on Twitter

    Since the beginning, I have witnessed desperate minds trying any means to influence the voters into accepting Mousavi as the saviour.

    I felt there was no respect to the minds of the voters.

    Instead of giving true data so the voter may build up a true opinion, they were just spreading insults and rumours.

    One could feel desperation and the formation of a misleading front with only one target; to bring to life the corrupting forces behind the mask of reform.

    This intimidated me into standing up for my duty as a loving citizen of this great country to point out to what I believe is true and factual.

    The role of Twitter in the Iranian elections has been big news. You've recently moved from blogging to Twitter. What makes it so important for you?

    I did not move from blogging to tweeting. I am tweeting as a blogger.

    Twitter has its impact on Iran's election in general.

    We could show the world many special characters of Iran's election, what they could not find in the western Media.

    We could share the election rallies, the debates and the atmosphere in Iran before the election.

    Though now, after the results and after the protests had taken over, there were many fake news and rumours spread all over the internet and it's the disadvantage of Twitter.

    At the moment, we should not forget that just one third of Iranians use the internet and take it as a serious tool.

    I assume Twitter might not represent the ideas of the majority here.

    It only caters for the elite and the younger generation who form the majority of the reformists.

    The Revolutionary Guard have threatened bloggers and Twitter users, and they have crackdown on communication. How do you feel about that?

    I am not aware about such threats but I can understand that a warning of some kind should be given to all to be responsible while using such modern tools of media and not use it to feed in intentional lies and hatred to fellow citizens.

    After all, we are all under one Islamic umbrella and must co-exist together as true builders of a loving and peaceful and prosperous future for generations to come.

    Is it becoming dangerous to blog and use Twitter? How easy is it to get caught and what would happen to you if you did?

    I honestly do not think at security level.

    I have full trust in our system of government and I can see the positive changes Ahmadinejad had brought into our lives.

    Let us not forget that President Khatami - a reformist in his own right - had blocked university students from demonstrating during his rule, while they are given the freedom to be over-expressive nowadays.

    You say you're against Mousavi - did you vote for Ahmadinejad?

    I am not with, or against, a candidate as a person but rather the system of thought he or she presents.

    When I saw how Mousavi performed opposite Ahmadinejad in the famous debate I lost trust in his ability and I sensed a hidden agenda behind him, a feeling that he is being pushed forward to safeguard the interests of certain powerful figures.

    It was not a pleasant feeling to see candidates pushing forward to further mislead us into another colour of the same old fabric of deceit.

    We are intelligent enough to remember that all the negativity of today is an accumulation of the mistakes of the past and it is not just that those who are mostly to blame point fingers of blame on Ahmadinejad, who is of a much younger age and lesser time in power.

    I trust that Najad should be given the time to prove his good intentions and we rally behind him as he leads us into this era of positive changes.

    My favourite candidate was not Mr Mousavi, but even so I would not participate in rallies.

    We have a legal system in Iran like any other country in the world.

    What are you angry about? What needs to change in Iran? What do you want to happen?

    Iran elections in depth

     Video: Iran supreme leader in 'power struggle'
     Video: Iran's 'citizen journalists'
     Video: Iran steps up net censorship
     Video: Iranians go online to evade curbs
     Video: The struggle for power
     Video: Rival protests continue in Iran
     Video: Iranians rally in Europe

     Iran's Ayatollah under threat?
     Mousavi sees election hopes dashed
     Iran writer on poll result
     Mousavi's letter to the people
     Iran poll result 'harms US hopes'
     West concerned by Iran fraud claims
     What next for Iran?
     The Iranian political system
     Riz Khan: Iran's disputed election
     Inside Story: Iran election recount
     Inside Story: Iran's political future

     Your media: submit your clips of the protests to Al Jazeera 

    Well, I am not angry, but hopeful.

    The freedom we gained for advertisements and rallies during election, those very frank and uncensored debates on TV, usage of colours and so on were all new, and the matter that for the first time in the history of Islamic Republic, protesters were shown on state TV, means that at general things are changing.

    We've started a new era in the Islamic Republic.

    Regardless of who is in power, things will change here.

    I believe that Iranian society and government is getting ready for big changes and we should not just push it to go forward.

    It will come to us by time and patience and not by force.

    I do not see the need to go in the streets and make life difficult for people.

    Tehran is a crowded city and usually there's lots of traffic everywhere and it takes time for someone to get to the place he wants in a normal day.

    The places they chose for protests are the most crowded parts of Tehran.

    It gives opportunity to some groups to misuse peaceful protests and turn it to a clash between parties. As we saw, so many people were injured - and some even murdered - and it's so sad.

    When we have legal system, we should complain based on that.

    These candidates ran for presidency and are supposed to obey law more than any other Iranian citizen.

    What do you think of the coverage of events in Iran by the western media?

    I am disappointed with the way the western media plays and is being picky.

    It chooses information that only serves to prove their own wishful thoughts.

    I did many interviews and when I read the edited published texts I realise how manipulative such a media is.

    Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.