Iranians Laugh At Djibouti After Reports Of Severed Tehran Ties

As a growing list of countries cut and downgrade relations with Tehran, Iranians turn to humor to deal with it

A man walks at the shore of Lake Assal in central-western Djibouti. — REUTERS
Jan 05, 2016 at 9:14 AM ET

Iranians are poking fun at the tiny African country of Djibouti—and its tiny size—after reports on Tuesday said it joined a growing number of countries cutting ties with Tehran in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia. Many on social media are mockingly asking where Djibouti even is, and posting racist comments, Vocativ discovered using our deep web technology.

“I have never heard your name before… nor knew that we have diplomatic relations,” one Iranian wrote on Twitter. “With the cutting of relations with Djibouti Iran’s economy will fully shut down,” said another, sarcastically, about the small nation in the Horn of Africa.

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Djibouti, along with Sudan and Bahrain, joined Saudi Arabia in severing ties with Iran, according to the Tehran Times and other reports, after Saudi Arabia executed a Shiite cleric and demonstrators in Tehran attacked Saudi’s embassy in protest. The United Arab Emirates has also sided with Saudi Arabia. Many Iranian social media users posted memes showing how small Djibouti looks on the map, mentioning that it only has a population of around 800,000. “Oh my God, what would we do without Djibouti now?” they laughingly asked.

The most-shared comment came from Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the conservative “Kayhan” newspaper, who allegedly wrote that “The Iranian Foreign Ministry has set an ultimatum for Djibouti’s diplomats to find their country on the map within 24 hours.”

Image translation: -Djibouti, the smallest country in Africa and the state with the smallest population cut ties with us. -Where exactly?!

Some Iranians also posted racist comments and images, drawing some to speak out in protest against the comments and mention the strategic location of Djibouti, which sits on the eastern coast of Africa at the point where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden. “Only Iranians can be proud of not knowing where Djibouti is,” said one user.

Translation: The people of Djibouti are cutting ties with us.