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Middle East

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei uses Twitter to tell young Iranians to take a hike

Iran’s Supreme Leader publishes a paean to the benefits of exercise

Presumably taking his cue from  the US First Lady Michelle Obama and her physical education campaign, Iran’s Supreme Leader has published a Twitter paean to the benefits of exercise.

A Twitter account believed to be maintained by the office of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted several tweets in English bemoaning the inactive lifestyles of Iran’s young people and recommending a hike in the mountains around the capital, Tehran.

“When I was young student of Islamic school, my father wasn’t eager to let me go to gym because it was common belief that Islamic students shouldn’t go to gym,” began the stream of messages. “But a friend of my father said that you must let your son to do sports … I used to do sport and I continue to do so, but I see young [people] aren’t that serious about sports which is totally wrong. Sometimes I go mountain climbing around Tehran and notice [the] number of young [people are] few regarding Tehran’s population. I feel sad that our young people are not benefiting from such a beautiful nature, Ayatollah #Khamenei #Sport #Iran.”

Khamenei does not have a personal Twitter account but is thought to approve tweets from his web team at @khamenei_ir, which boasts more than 12,000 followers. The Ayatollah also has an Instagram account and even joined Facebook last year – despite the site being blocked to internet users in Iran.