A few days before the 38th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution—traditionally commemorated with hardliners burning U.S. flags and promoting other forms of anti-Americanism—thousands of people participated in a Twitter storm to express gratitude for the Americans who protested against President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
— مملکته (@mamlekate) February 8, 2017
More than 47,000 individual tweets were composed with the #LoveBeyondFlags hashtag on February 8, 2017, with almost 70 percent of tweets coming from the Islamic Republic, according to research by the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
— ملودی (@MelodyTz) February 8, 2017
Many of the tweeters also combined the hashtag with a message opposing the burning of the U.S. flag, an increasingly unpopular act in Iran—carried out by a small minority of hardliners—designed to bolster anti-Americanism throughout the country and attract international media coverage.
Prominent Iran-based political pundits have criticized flag-burning in public forums.
“It’s wrong to burn a country’s flag,” said Tehran University Political Science Professor Sadegh Zibakalam, during a debate on state television in 2016. “You are insulting the people of that country.”
The February 8 Twitter storm followed one on February 3 using the hashtag #احترام_به_ملتها (Respect For Nations), which lasted several days. More than 80 percent of those postings also came from Iran, according to the Campaign’s research.
— Sanaz Allahbedashti (@Sannaz_All) February 8, 2017
[TWEET: Sanaz Allahbedashti: “Borders” are not for ending humanity. There’s a green path full of love between me as an Iranian and my American twin, which will break the wall of anger put up by governments.]