In his first interview with a Persian-language media outlet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a lot of harsh things to say about Iran and its government. But the comment that really struck a nerve touched on fashion.
"I think if the Iranian people had freedom they would wear jeans, listen to Western music, and have free elections," Netanyahu told the BBC's Persian Service in an interview published on October 5.
The faux pas set off a wave of ridicule from Iranians who rushed to post photos of themselves wearing jeans on social media, often with snide comments about the quality of the work done by the Israeli spies that are assumed to be blanketing Iran. The #jeans and #jeansiniran hashtags took off on Twitter, with many posts being aggregated
on other sites.
"My countrymen wear blue jeans and they listen to Western music and they are amazing and don't you dare patronize us. EVER!" wrote one Twitter user.
"Sir, I listen to #charlieparker and #frankzappa, wear jeans and vote," wrote another.
Although the focus of the outrage was the blue-jeans remark, many posted photos of their Western CDs or their cellphones playing Western music as well.
Although women in Iran are required to cover their hair in public and to dress modestly, jeans are commonly worn by both women and men.
On a more serious note, some Iranians wondered how Netanyahu could know so little about Iran. "Netanyahu doesn't know Iranians wear jeans. How does he know Iran is making nuclear bombs?"
"Actually I am happy that @Netanyahu talked this way, he showed more & more that 1. He knows nothing about Iranians [and] 2. He lies & lies."
One user posted a photograph of Alireza Ahmadi Roshan, the son of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, an Iranian nuclear scientist who was assassinated in Tehran in January:
That post has been retweeted dozens of times.
If Israel's prime minister hasn't yet had enough of seeing how smartly Iranians dress, he might check out this photoblog
. Jeans and a lot more.
-- Robert Coalson