To the Editor:
I did graduate-level research at Stanford University from 2001 to 2003 on the role of the Internet in Iran. My field work in Iran at the time indicated that it was freedom of expression and access to unfiltered information that served to undermine the self-legitimacy strategy of the Iranian government. After all, information is accompanied by increased accountability. Today, there is a social media revolution in Iran, whereby Twitter, Facebook and similar sites are serving as the vehicles by which those who reject the apparent election coup are assembling and disseminating valuable information in real time. Nobody dismisses the fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a large, strong base of supporters. But it is Iran’s own laws that were clumsily and blatantly abrogated for the sake of displaying a political mandate, highlighting new vulnerabilities that all who champion a more democratic Iran can seize upon in the short and long run.