#IraniansStandWithIsrael: Iran bans speaking out online in support of Israel – but it has not deterred some

Iranians speaking out online in support of Israel could face criminal punishment from the authoritarian regime - but that is not stopping everyone.

In the wake of the country's attack on Israel, Arabic hashtags for 'Iran' and 'World War Three' began to trend on social media.

The Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organisation then issued a notice urging citizens to report any digital support for Israel, warning it would be treated as a criminal offence once the users have been identified.

Follow latest: Israel 'retains all its options' in Iran attack response

"[The] actions of the [Israeli] regime have hurt the feelings of the great nation of Iran," the notice states.

It continues by asking "if you see any activity in support of the fake Israeli government in cyberspace, to send the information and specifications of the mentioned pages and their operators" to the IRCG.

"It should be noted that according to Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Law on Countering the Zionist Regime's Hostile Actions against Peace and Security, the perpetrators will be dealt with decisively."

Iranians appeared divided over the attacks, but three trends began to crystallise across social media: support for Israel, scepticism of official news and the ridicule of weapons used in the attack.

👉 Listen above then tap here to follow the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts 👈


Use of one of the most prominent hashtags, #IraniansStandWithIsrael, peaked on Saturday, with more than 60,000 uses across X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram, according to social analytics site Talkwalker.

Iran is known for having an extensive internet censorship system - popular sites including YouTube, X, Facebook and Telegram are blocked.

As a result, only 33% of the hashtag's uses came from within Iran, with 41% of posts originating from the United States. As seen in the protests in the wake of Mahsa Amini, the woman whose death sparked international protests, young people are on the frontlines of the online protests: 46% of posts were made by people aged between 25 and 34.

But censorship is not stopping some, who have found ways to circumnavigate the blocks, and are posting support for Israel online.

"As Israel faces aggression, Iranians reject their oppressive regime with bold graffiti," wrote one person, alongside an image of two hands adorned with the respective countries' flags.

"We are witnessing the end of the Islamic regime," another said.

Not everyone agreed with this sentiment - Palestinian writer Said al-Haj posted on X that the attack represented "a strong direct message without war" adding it marked "a new phase in the region".

While a rival hashtag, #IraniansStandWithPalestine, did follow suit, it was used just under 3,000 times, according to data from Talkwalker.

The exiled crown prince

Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the exiled heir to the throne whose father was the last monarch of Iran, is among the most prominent figures to speak out online against the attack.

Read more: Israel faces many complications over if - and how - to strike back against Iran

Writing to his four million followers on Instagram, he said: "The Islamic Republic's missile launch against Israel occurred exactly on the day that the regime's goons launched a new round of attacks on Iranian women to impose a compulsory hijab, a sign that the fate of the Iranian people and Israel is now in a special way."

Since the attack, Pahlavi's Instagram following has grown by almost 13,000 followers - far exceeding his previously daily average growth of 1,600 accounts, suggesting renewed interest in his calls for a "secular democratic Iran".