The website of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came under extensive attack by hackers in the unrest that followed the country’s 2009 presidential vote. That's according to a recently published report by "Hamshahri" magazine, which says the editor of Khamenei.ir
is a "media figure" who prefers to continue his work anonymously to stay away from "political factions."The report says
the main goal of Khamenei.ir is to spread the "ideas and personality" of Khamenei in cyberspace. Visitors to the website can choose from a number of languages, including English, Swahili, Indonesian, Russian, and Hausa.
“Hamshahri” reports that the website, which was launched in 2002, is run by a group of Internet-savvy individuals. It says the group has developed its own software because, among other reasons, they seem to believe that software produced in Western countries cannot be trusted.
The main emphasis of the website is making Khamenei's views and comments available as quickly as possible.
More details from the eight-page report:
"Khamenei.ir came under extensive attack in the sedition days [meaning in the 2009 unrest over the reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad]. Methods such as attempts to change the content of the site were used but weren’t successful.
“This site has its own software, including its own media player... [The software] is of importance because some Western companies are using [their] software as a tool to secretly obtain information.
"Being first in the ranking of websites of Iranian sources of emulation is [among] the achievements of the site. Yet the managers of the site are not satisfied with the current state. They believe [the site] has to be assessed in the Islamic world. First of all, they want to break the boycott on Shi'a news on the Internet and use the potential of cyberspace more extensively.
"The basis for the recruitment of the website’s staff was their ability to work in the virtual world. As a result, from a year ago, at a time when the use of social media was not serious, a user by the name of Khamenei.ir became very active in Twitter and FriendFeed."
Despite the difficulty of spreading ideas and messages in the “dictatorial space of Western media,” “Hamshahri” says the managers of Khamenei.ir hope to get his word out to all his supporters around the world.
Khamenei.ir is a good example of how the Iranian establishment uses the Internet and the latest technologies for its own purposes, including spreading propaganda and promoting the ideas of Iranian leaders while simultaneously denying its citizens the right to access information freely.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari