Iranians launch #jeans protest on Twitter, taking jab at Netanyahu

The #jeans protest is a response to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments that Iranians are governed by a cult that bars them from wearing jeans, among other forms of expression.

Vahid Salemi/AP
Two Iranian men dance among their friends as they enjoy their weekend in the Darakeh mountainous area, north of the capital Tehran, Iran, June 21. A Twitter hashtag #jeans has been popular in response to recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Iranians are governed by a cult that bars them from wearing jeans.

In a lighter side to the Israel-Iran standoff over nuclear weapons, Iranians armed with nothing more than jeans and a camera are protesting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intimation that they are ruled by a cultic government that restricts not only their voting options but their sartorial choices as well.

One Iranian Twitter user, who had only bothered tweeting 152 times before today, dedicated his next 140 characters to Mr. Netanyahu:

Other tweets ranged from sassy to vindictive, but all seemed to send a clear retort: We don’t need you intervening on behalf of our freedom.

The #jeans protest came in response to a comment by Netanyahu last week in which he attempted to distinguish Iranian aspirations from the theocratic system of government that has prevailed in the Islamic Republic since 1979. The Supreme Leader is officially considered “God’s deputy on earth.”

“If they had a free go, are you kidding, they’d toss out this regime, they’d go in blue jeans,” said Netanyahu during his first-ever interview with BBC Persian. “I mean these people, the Iranian people, the majority of them are actually pro-Western. But they don’t have that. They’re governed not by Rouhani. They’re governed by Ayatollah Khamenei. He heads a cult. That cult is wild in its ambitions and its aggression.”

Netanyahu has just returned from Washington and New York, where he warned the US and the world of the dangers of accepting Iran's softer rhetoric without seeing any real change in its nuclear program. Some say the Israeli prime minister sees himself as taking on a Churchillian role of warning against appeasement, just as the formidable British leader did when faced by the Nazi regime.

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