Double standards of Twitter, western media regarding IRGC dissidents

By | Rachel Brooks

April 13, 2021

Above image: Ellie Cohanim as she appeared in Republic Underground’s recent discussion on human rights in Iran, and how the western world should begin to take action. Despite the extreme need for the liberation of western thinking for Iranian women, the left-leaning platform Twitter platform appears partial to the IRGC’s narrative, says Iranian Americans for Liberty.  

Media and social media censor has become a common occurrence with regards to the Iranian regime’s presence in the west. Iranian Americans for Liberty drew attention to this on April 12 in a presentation regarding the inconsistent fact-check policy of the Twitter platform. The IAL noted that, while the former U.S. President Donald Trump was fact-checked and eventually suspended for his rhetoric leading up to the events in Washington, D.C. on January 6, IRGC’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has not been treated with a similar approach.

The statement released by the IAL regarding Twitter “double standards” and dissident censorship. 

 

Leaders of the Iranian community in the west have called on the American government to investigate this inconsistent policy. The IAL drew a direct comparison between telephone companies and Twitter. IAL noted that Twitter’s policy is the equivalent of a telecommunications provider policing phone conversations, banning users they did not approve of, and playing favoritism with subscribed customers.

The IAL noted that, while Donald Trump’s rhetoric led to his suspension, with Twitter citing “violation” of its “violence and harassment policies” the Khamenei is known for a heated antisemitic, antizionist rhetoric, and oppressive policies against the Iranian people. Khamenei, despite the precedent that the suspension of Trump should have entailed, is allowed to maintain Twitter accounts in Persian, English, German, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, French, Hindi, Urdu, Russian, and Turkish. At the same time, Islamic Republic leaders and apologists are allowed to use the Twitter platform freely. Yet, activists against the IRGC’s dissidents and critics face “unjustified suspension and permanent ban by Twitter.”

Potkin Azarmehr, speaking with the IAL, noted that, in his case, Twitter failed to address an account that threatened to rape his family for content that he posted. He stated that response from Twitter staff told him that the post did not “violate” the platform’s rules. Azarmehr expressed disdain for Twitter’s decision, that threats to “rape and kill” his family members were not considered a violation of hate speech policies.

Azarmehr was likewise temporarily suspended for sharing a photo of Kathy Griffin’s skit with the fake severed head of Donald Trump drenched in blood. Azarmehr had criticized the Twitter company for permitting that skit to be present on its platform, but not criticism of the IRGC.

IAL also noted that Dr. Shervan Fashandi was suspended from Twitter for tweeting in Persian a rebuke of women and homosexuals who back the IRGC, because of the severe marginalization and targeting within the IRGC of women and homosexuals. His account was suspended for this tweet, following criticism from Jamal Adbi, and others who are supporters of the IRGC regime’s rhetoric. Jamal Abdi accused Fashandi of misogyny and homophobia for rebuking women and homosexuals who backed the IRGC, calling his remarks “disgusting” and stating that Fashandi believed “everyone he disagreed with” was an “agent of the Islamic Republic.” Noteworthy is the fact that Fashandi’s comments did not attack women or homosexuals based on gender or sexual orientation. Rather, his critic was of their political affiliations even despite their gender and sexual orientation, comparing female and homosexual support of the IRGC to a Jew supporting Nazism.

The conclusion the IAL reached was that Twitter’s fact-checking team are sympathizers with the Islamic Republic, which they stated sets a dangerous precedent for America as a whole.

Ellie Cohanim spoke with Irina Tsukerman via Republic Underground about modern peace movements in the Middle East. She then noted that, in Iran, a need for these movements is profound, but the west seems reluctant to aid in the process. 

 

Ellie Cohanim, a former staffer of the U.S. State Department, and an Iranian Jew who escaped the regime reinforced the statements made by dissidents that the Iranian regime is one “of the worst in the world” regarding women’s rights. Cohanim’s family escaped to the United States early during the Islamic Revolution, Khomeini’s uprising in 1979.

Cohanim spoke about how, the Arab states, have begun to mediate peace and accept peace between the state of Israel and the Arabic acceptance of it. She spoke of how this was in contrast to the intense regression of Muslim world human rights in Iran, where human rights continue to unravel, especially in regards to women’s rights.

Tsukerman, as moderator, had asked Cohanim regarding the capture and maltreatment of women in minority groups in Iranian prisons. She noted that the IRGC was known to capture women from marginalized communities, who have been taken from their vulnerable communities, placed in political prisons, raped, tortured, and then released to a society where the honorific social consequences of their violation are profound.

“It makes me wonder what their commitment to feminism is,” said Cohanim, speaking with regards to western feminists whom she noted did not “stand with their sisters” in regions such as the IRGC where human rights are consistently suppressed. In Iran, Cohanim noted, women are forced to wear the hijab and the veil, which under Islamic doctrine is meant to be a voluntary covenant. The women of Iran are forced to take these veils if they wish to leave the home, removing their volition in the commitment to Islam.

Cohanim stated that in the IRGC, the Morality Police, a group of “thugs” are brought into major metropolitan cities such as Tehran, and throughout the country, and are allowed to commit moral police brutality against women. She stated that they are typically from undereducated communities, and make their decisions to arrest women for religious appearance violations solely based on their uneducated arbitration.

Women are imprisoned and tortured based on a chauvinistic arbitration of a corrupt volunteer police system. Despite this complete contrast to the narrative of the western leftist feminist, the western feminist is silent. Cohanim, who finds herself fortunate enough to have escaped the regime as a child, feels disappointment on a personal level for this oversight.

Cohanim stated that IRGC dissidents in Iran and the Iranian Diaspora refer to the state’s third-class designation and extreme abuse of women as “gender apartheid.”

“If there was ever a time for western feminists to take action it’s now,” said Cohanim.

Hirsi Ali speaks out on the marriage market that she escaped.

 

Cohanim noted that one of her great inspirations, as a little girl growing up in America and rejecting the limitations of a traditional Persian upbringing, noted that the American, Dutch, Somali activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali was a great inspiration to her. Cohanim spoke about how she was shaped by the freedom of speech and the freedom of political opinions that Americans have as a great privilege of being raised in the western world.

She also noted that human rights and female empowerment “should not be a partisan issue.”

“I also think that we live in a hyper-partisan age, and it’s disruptive for all of us,” stated Cohanim.