Melon Farmers Unrated

Iranian Internet Censorship

Extensive internet blocking


Iran succeeds in cutting off its country from the rest of the internet world...

Beware of politicians like Merkel suspiciously urging the EU to seize control of data from US tech giants

Link Here22nd November 2019
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Access to the internet is gradually being restored in Iran after an unprecedented five-day shutdown that cut its population off from the rest of the world and suppressed news of the deadliest unrest since the country's 1979 revolution.

The digital blackout that commenced last Friday is part of a growing trend of governments interfering with the internet to curb violent unrest, but also legitimate dissent.

The internet-freedom group Access Now recorded 75 internet outages in 2016, which more than doubled to 196 last year.

But Iran's restriction of the internet this week was something more sophisticated and alarming, researchers say. Iranians were cut off from the global internet, but internally, networks appeared to be functioning relatively normally. The Islamic Republic managed to successfully wall its citizens off from the world, without taking down the internet entirely.

Iran, Russia and of course China have all been taking action to design a local internet that continue to operate when the plug to the outside world is pulled. This has taken years of preparation to ensure there are local services to replace the core US based essentials of Google, Facebook, Paypal and co that are absolutely irreplaceable in most countries around the world.

And of course the effectiveness of the shutdown in Iran will surely spur on ther oppressive regimes that liek waht they saw.



Updated: Courting Discord...

Iranian courts ban the Telegram app and even the government opposes the move

Link Here7th May 2018
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Monday's ban on the popular encrypted Telegram messaging app by Iran's powerful judiciary has not been well received.

Telegram serves many Iranians as a kind of combination of Facebook and Whatsapp, allowing people inside the country to chat securely and to disseminate information to large audiences abroad. Until the court ban, the application was widely used by Iranian state media, politicians, companies and ordinary Iranians for business, pleasure and political organizing. Telegram is believed to have some 20 million users in Iran out of a total population of 80 million.

The judiciary's Culture and Media Court banned the app citing among its reasons its use by international terrorist groups and anti-government protesters, and the company's refusal to cooperate with Iran's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology to provide decryption keys.

The move came after extensive public debate in Iran, some conducted via the messaging service itself, about the limits of free expression, government authority and access to information in the Islamic Republic.

President Hassan Rouhani and other prominent reformers, who advocate increased freedom while retaining Iran's current Islamic system of government, argued against the proposed ban, saying that it would make society anxious.

Similarly, in the wake of the judiciary's announcement that the application would be blocked, Information and Communications Technology Minister Muhammad-Javad Azari Jahromi criticized the move on Twitter. Citizens' access to information sources is unstoppable, he wrote the day after the decision. Whenever one application or program is blocked, another will take its place, he wrote. This is the unique aspect and necessity of the free access to information in the age of communication.

Rouhani was even more forthright in his response to the ban in a message posted to Instagram on Friday. The government policy is... a safe, but not controlled Internet, he wrote. No Internet service or messaging app has been banned by this government, and none will be. He added that the block was the direct opposite to democracy.

Update: The judicial censorship of Telegram could be challenged by the president

7th May 2018. See  article from

Two lawyers in Tehran told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that the Iranian president has the authority to refuse to the prosecutor's order to ban the Telegram messaging app.

An attorney in Tehran specializing in media affairs, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the threat of reprisals by the judiciary, told CHRI: From a legal standpoint, orders issued by assistant prosecutors must be enforced but they can be challenged. As the target of this order, the government can lodge a complaint and ask the provincial court to make a ruling. But the question is, does the government want to take legal action or not? This is more of a political issue. In the same manner, the judiciary had invoked security laws to shut down 40 newspapers in 2000.



National Internet...

Iran implements first phase of its plan to censor the internet by cutting off the outside world

Link Here30th August 2016
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

Iran has announced it has completed the first phase of its long running plan to operate a "national internet".

An inauguration ceremony was held on Sunday by the country's communications and censorship minister, Mahmoud Vaezi. 

Iran already blocks access to overseas-based social media services - including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook - many users still access them via proxy sites and virtual private networks (VPNs). So the government is trying to totally cut off access paths to the outside world.

The government says the goal is to create an isolated domestic intranet that can be used to promote Islamic content and raise digital awareness among the public. It intends to replace the current system, in which officials seek to limit which parts of the existing internet people have access to via filters - an effort Vaezi described as being "inefficient".

According to a report by Mehr, a Tehran-based news agency :

  • the first phase of the rollout involves providing access to e-government services and domestic web pages
  • a second phase, due in February 2017, will add domestic video content
  • a third phase, due in March 2017, will introduce further services and provide support for companies involved in international trade

The British human rights campaign group Article 19 has criticised the plan:

Given Iran's record in violating its human rights commitments based on civil and political (including religious and ethnic) grounds, the development of projects such as the national internet are especially concerning.

The National Internet Project could pave the way for further isolation, surveillance and information retention. [It] risks severely isolating the Iranian people from the rest of the online world, limiting access to information and constraining attempts at collective action and public protest."



Update: Snoopers bang on the back door...

Iran blocks Telegram encrypted comms app when the company won't provide snooping tools

Link Here 24th October 2015
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Iran has  been facing off with the Telegram encrypted comms app over a dispute about granting the repressive state rights to snoop on users' communications.

Iran has demanded snooping rights but has been generating a public outcry when applying temporary blocks to the app.

Pavel Durov, founder and chief executive officer for the app Telegram, took to Twitter to defend the app after Iran decided to block it because he wouldn't allow the government to spy on its users. Durov tweeted:

Iranian officials want to use @telegram to spy on their citizens. We can not and will not help them with that.

Iranian ministry of ICT demanded that @telegram provided them with spying and censorship tools. We ignored the demand, they blocked us.

According to Durov, ICT completely blocked the app in Iran for two hours Tuesday and partially blocked it for more than a week.



Offsite Article: Internet in Iran...

Link Here26th March 2015
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Evaluating Rouhani's First Two Years as President

See article from



Update: Open to Repression...

Iran bans the sale and use of VPNs

Link Here13th May 2014
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Iran is to make the sale, purchase and use of VPN software illegal throughout Iran.

Virtual Private Networks hides the real internet address of users from internet snoopers and from websites being visited.

The draconian clampdown of free use of the Internet was announced by Iran's cyber police chief Brigadier General Kamal Hadianfar on Monday. He warned Internet users that use of a VPN makes all their information available to the companies that own the VPN servers, and claimed: Criminals' use of VPN has made the cost of finding the criminals higher and has increased the risk for those using it.

A 2013 study found that almost half of the world's top 500 most-visited websites - including those related to health, science, sports, news, and even shopping - are blocked in Iran. The regime is also one of three countries in the world to block Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So it is hardly surprising that many Iranians use VPN software to bypass the regime's censorship of millions of websites and internet services.



Update: Talking Censorship...

Iranian internet censor bans WhatsApp on grounds of jewish ownership connections

Link Here6th May 2014
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Iranian censors have reportedly banned the use of messaging service WhatsApp, citing the Jewish heritage of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, which now owns WhatsApp.

According to initial accounts from Fox News, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, said the reason for the change is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist.

The Twitter account of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani retweeted a message from @MeetIran, which said it opposed the WhatsApp blockade.

Despite its massive popularity around the world, WhatsApp has become something of a black sheep in the Middle East. In February, the app was named the No. 1 cause of destruction in Jewish homes and businesses, according to Israeli rabbis, who discouraged its use among the ultra-Orthodox.



Update: A Smart New Suit...

Iran's president elect signals a softer line on web censorship and Islamic dress code

Link Here3rd July 2013
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

Iran's president-elect Hassan Rouhani has expressed relatively progressive views about civil liberties, freedom of expression and the internet .

In an interview in the Iranian media, Rouhani told youth magazine Chelcheragh that he is opposed to segregation of sexes in society, would work to minimise censorship and believes internet filtering is futile.

In the age of digital revolution, one cannot live or govern in a quarantine, he said as he made clear he is opposed to the authorities' harsh crackdown on Iranians owning satellite dishes.

Of internet filtering, Rouhani said some of the measures taken by the authorities to restrict users' access online was not done in good faith and was instead politically motivated:

There are political reasons. They have fears of the freedom people have in online atmosphere, this is why they seek to restrict information. But filtering is incapable of producing any [useful] results.

Supporters of internet filtering should explain whether they've successfully restricted access to information? Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?

Filtering has not even stopped people from accessing unethical [a reference to pornographic] websites. Widespread online filtering will only increase distrust between people and the state.

Rouhani also pledged to minimise censorship of artistic and cultural works. In his interview, Rouhani said he opposed segregation of men and women, including at universities, and criticised the politicians who are against allowing women to enter stadiums to watch football matches along with men. He also explained that he opposed the religious police acting as fashion police by enforcing islamic dress codes. He also said that a women without a hijab is not necessarily without virtue.



Update: Iran Blocks Unlicensed VPNs...

Where Iran leads, the EU will have to follow if it wants to block internet porn

Link Here 11th March 2013
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

AN Iranian official Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard has told Reuters:

Within the last few days illegal VPN ports in the country have been blocked. Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used.

So, those looking to tap into Facebook, YouTube, various news sites and, yes, even Google's search engine itself (among other banned websites) will have to find different methods for doing so -- which do exist, according to an Iranian interviewed by Reuters who said he was using an unnamed software tool to bypass Iran's blocks.

 Iran's Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi explained further in the Tehran Chronicle:

We have started distributing official VPN services for Iranian users. Those need this service to open safe connections can apply in the program and we will review their cases one by one. If their request was approved, then we will introduce legal providers and licensed clients can buy their needed services.

By launching this program, Iranian government can prosecute users who are violating state laws and Internet Filtering Committee will be able to take offenders to national courts.


20th May

Update: Local Mail or Else...

Iran tries to prevent local companies from using foreign email providers

Iran has reportedly banned domestic companies from using foreign email services and hosting providers, as its attempts to create an autonomous, nationwide intranet gather pace.

Local weekly Asr Ertebatat claimed that Iran's telecommunications ministry is preventing banks, insurance firms and telephone operators from using the services of foreign email providers such as Yahoo!, Gmail and Microsoft. The ministry has also banned the firms from using foreign hosts for their sites.

The companies, and perhaps more importantly, any customer or client wishing to communicate with them must do so with an email address ending in , or .

Update: Constantly-sliding window

14th August 2012. See  article from

Telecommunications minister Reza Taghipour said disconnecting key ministries would make sure their information won't be accessible to the one or two countries hostile to Iran.

However the plans certainly seem to be on a constantly-sliding window: if an April report was accurate, the cutoff was due to happen this month. Now, Iran's telling The Telegraph its timetable is over the next 18 months.


10th March

Update: The Supreme Council of Cyberspace...

Iran's elite appointed as internet censors

  Chief internet censor

Iran's supreme leader has ordered the creation of an internet censorship agency that includes top military, security and political figures in the country's boldest attempt yet to control the internet.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that the grandiously named, Supreme Council of Cyberspace, will be tasked with preventing harm to Iranians who go online, state TV reported.

The report did not spell out specifically the kind of harms that the council would tackle. But officials have in the past described two separate threats: computer viruses created by Iran's rivals aimed at sabotaging its industry, particularly its controversial nuclear program, and a culture invasion aimed at undermining the Islamic Republic.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace Censorship will be headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and includes powerful figures in the security establishment such as the intelligence chief, the commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, and the country's top police chief. It also includes the speaker of parliament, state media chiefs, government ministers in charge of technology-oriented portfolios, and several cyber experts.


11th February

Update: De-mailed...

Iran turns off major portions of the internet

Iran is closing down the country's internet access. The government cut has blocked major websites leaving millions without email and social networks.

The shutdown comes at a time when inhabitants are preparing to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, complete with rumours of anti-government protests.

Gmail, Google and Yahoo have been blocked and users have been unable to log in to their online banking. This seems related to the secure internet protocol https being totally blocked.

Last month, the country's Information Minister announced plans for a government-run intranet as a replacement for the internet.


9th January

Updated: Life in the Slow Lane...

Iran set to turn off internet access to the outside world

A member of Iran's Corporate Computer Systems reports that Iran will be cut off from the World Wide Web once the country launches its own national internet network next month.

Iranian media report that Payam Karbasi, the spokesman for Corporate Computer Systems of Iran, said: With the launch of the national internet, the internet providers can increase the speed of access to their desired websites by two megabytes... however, it will be just like a corporate network, which cannot be accessed by outsiders, and some material cannot be accessed through that network.

The national internet network will allow service providers to decide which sites the users can be accessed speedily, which sites will be provided at the lowest speed, and of course which sites will be totally blocked.

In the past two weeks, Iranian internet users have reported an extreme reduction in internet speed. While access to government sites remains easy, using proxies to access blocked sites only via the slow lane.

Karbasi said: Imagine there is a monitoring system that checks all the internet packages and then allows it to pass through or regards it unclean. Because of the high volume of internet packages, they remain in a line-up in order to be checked, and this causes the reduction in the speed of access.

With the launch of the so-called clean internet network, Iranian authorities aim to separate Iran from the World Wide Web in order to block access to supposedly immoral content and maintain control of what Iranian users can access.

Update: Spy in the Caf

9th January 2012.  See  article from

Iran's cyberpolice have issued new restrictions for Internet cafes that appear to be part of the Iranian establishment's efforts to impose further controls on the Internet.

According to the new rules, the personal information of citizens visiting cybercafes, such as their name, father's name, national ID number, and telephone number, will be registered. Cafe owners will be required to keep the personal and contact information of their clients and also a record of their browsing history for six months.

Another new rule that has been announced requires cybercafe owners to install closed-circuit cameras and keep the video recordings for six months. The guidelines also say that installing circumvention tools that allow access to banned websites will be illegal at Internet cafes.

Deputy cyberpolice chief Mohsen Mirbehresi has said that owners of Internet cafes should deny Internet access to those who do not show their IDs. Internet cafes have 15 days to implement the restrictions, which were announced on January 3.


19th July

Update: Virtually Proscribed Networks...

Iran upgrades web blocking technology

Iran has stepped up online censorship by upgrading the system that enables the Islamic regime to block access to millions of websites it deems inappropriate for Iranian users.

The move comes one month after the United States announced plans to launch new services facilitating internet access and mobile phone communications in countries with tight controls on freedom of speech, a decision that infuriated Tehran's regime and prompted harsh reactions from several Iranian officials.

Despite the blocking, many Iranians access banned addresses with help from proxy websites or virtual private network (VPN) services. The upgrade is aimed at stopping users bypassing censorship.

More than 5 million websites are filtered in Iran. Media organisations including the Guardian, BBC and CNN are blocked. On Google, the Farsi equivalents for words such as condom , sex , lesbian and anti-filtering are filtered out.

Iran is believed to be worried about the influence of the internet and especially social networking websites as pro-democracy activists across the Middle East use them to promote and publicise their movements.

In April, the Tehran government announced that it intended to launch halal internet , a country-wide intranet and a parallel network that conforms to Islamic values with the ultimate goal of substituting for the global internet.

Iran's opposition believe that Iran is buying its filtering technology from China.


9th June

Update: Extreme Censorship...

Iran plans to replace the internet with an Iran only intranet

Iran is moving towards introducing a new aggressive form of censorship, a national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world.

The initiative appears part of a broader effort to confront what the regime now considers a major threat: an online invasion of Western ideas, culture and influence.

Iran, already among the most sophisticated nations in online censoring, also promotes its national Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold Islamic moral codes.

The Wall St Journal quoted Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the telecommunication ministry's research institute, as telling an Iranian news agency that soon 60% of the nation's homes and businesses would be on the new, internal network. Within two years it would extend to the entire country, he said.

Ali Aghamohammadi, Iran's head of economic affairs, said the new network would at first operate in parallel to the normal Internet-banks, government ministries and large companies would continue to have access to the regular Internet. Eventually, he said, the national network could replace the global Internet in Iran, as well as in other Muslim countries.


4th February

Update: Mob Censorship...

Foreign journalists find themselves hounded by mobs

Dozens of foreign journalists were arrested, attacked and beaten as the Egyptian government and its supporters embarked on what the US state department called a concerted campaign to intimidate the international media.

Human rights workers also fell victim to crowd violence, while police raided the offices of two groups in Cairo, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre and the Centre for Economic and Social Rights, and arrested observers. Amnesty International said one of its staff was detained at the law centre, with a Human Rights Watch colleague.

A group of reporters from Daily News Egypt, an independent, English-language paper, were among those targeted. They were set upon by a group of passers-by in Dokki, west of the Nile, that quickly swelled into a 50-strong crowd after they ventured out of their offices to investigate a story about rising petrol prices.

It was terrifying, said Amira Ahmed, the publication's business editor. They were chanting: 'We've found the foreigners, don't let them go,' and calling us traitors and spies.  Like many who were caught up in similar incidents today, Ahmed said the most chilling part of the encounter was the mob mentality that took hold: t he people who were showing up had no idea why we were the targets. They just took up the cry of 'foreigners' and 'journalists' and joined in. There was no leader we could appeal to for reason.

The Egyptian interior ministry arrested more than 20 foreign journalists in Cairo, including the Washington Post's bureau chief and a photographer. Al-Jazeera said three of its journalists were detained.

On the streets, it was impossible to interview protesters without a crowd gathering, shouting accusations and jabbing fingers. The antipathy to the media appeared to extend to both opponents and supporters of the regime.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the systematic targeting of journalists in Egypt as unacceptable, and called for those detained to be freed. The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain said in a joint statement that the attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable .


3rd February

Update: Journalists Attacked...

Egypt restores the internet but only after taking steps to ensure that reporters are properly censored

Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak have begun violently attacking journalists reporting on the streets of Cairo today, a shift in tactics from recent media censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. CPJ calls on the Egyptian military to provide protection for journalists.

The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. The government has resorted to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs. The situation is frightening not only because our colleagues are suffering abuse but because when the press is kept from reporting, we lose an independent source of crucial information.

Internet Restored

See  article from

Internet access in Egypt appears to have returned to normal, according to firms measuring traffic levels in the country.

Facebook and Twitter are now available and the four major Egyptian internet service providers are back in business.


1st February

Update: Iranians Green with Envy?...

Authorities fear that news from Egypt may spark popular uprising in Iran

According to Reuters, many online news sources including Reuters itself and Yahoo News are newly blocked in Iran.

Harder news stories from foreign outlets have been replaced by government-approved suggestions.

With protests in Egypt gaining momentum, Iran is hedging its bets by limiting the influx of breaking news out of its Middle Eastern neighbor.

In Iran, Political unrest remains from when the country exploded into social media-fuelled 'Green' protests following the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June.


14th February

Update: Gcensors...

Gmail blocked in Iran

Iran's telecommunications agency announced what it described as a permanent suspension of Google's email services, saying a national email service for Iranian citizens would soon be rolled out.

A Google spokesman said in a statement, We have heard from users in Iran that they are having trouble accessing Gmail. We can confirm a sharp drop in traffic, and we have looked at our own networks and found that they are working properly. Whenever we encounter blocks in our services we try to resolve them as quickly as possibly because we strongly believe that people everywhere should have the ability to communicate freely online.

The move marks another effort by the regime to close the gap with its opposition in controlling Iranian cyberspace, according to Internet security experts. The government has a tight grip over old media—television, radio and newspapers—but learned during the unrest following the contested election last June that the opposition and its supporters dominated new media, including social networking Web sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The primary purpose for doing this is to control communication and mine that communication, so the government can crack down on dissenters and people who threaten the government, said Richard Stiennon, founder of Internet security firm IT-Harvest: If the government can induce the population to use a state-controlled email service, it would have access to the content of all of those emails, he added.

Silencing the Opposition

Based on article from

The US has accused Iran of seeking a near-total information blockade to silence anti-government protesters.

The allegations came after opposition supporters clashed with security forces as Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 revolution. The US government said it had information that the telephone network was taken down, SMS messages blocked, and internet communication throttled .

Official events were held across Iran, but the main gathering was at Tehran's Azadi Square. State TV showed tens of thousands of people filling the streets. Amateur footage purportedly showing opposition protests has been appearing on the video-sharing website YouTube, including at least one rally in the Tehran underground.


10th January

Update: Iranian Deviance from Human Rights...

Iran publishes long lists of websites that are illegal to access

The Iranian judicial authorities have published a long list of banned Internet websites in a new crackdown on online networks, including those deemed immoral.

They said the list, drawn up by a committee of experts, bans any site that contains pornography, prostitution, sexual deviation or anything considered to be contrary to the morals of society in the Islamic republic.

Websites containing material contrary to security and social peace as well as those seen by the authorities as hostile to government officials and institutions bound to lead to crimes are also banned.

According to the list published in several Tehran newspapers, anyone found guilty of using such websites could be jailed for several years in line with a law on Internet offences passed in parliament more than a year ago.

Internet users are also prohibited from posting articles that violate religious values, that insult Islam and other recognised world religions, saints and prophets, the reports said.

Any articles that insult Imam Khomeini and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are banned, the reports added in reference to the founder of the Islamic republic and his successor. Articles contrary to the constitution, that support hostile political groups or are used as propaganda against the regime of the Islamic republic are also banned.

The sale of software that can bypass bypass filter systems used by the authorities is also forbidden, the reports said.


1st August

Update: Stony Ground...

Iran has blocked 5 million websites

The annual publication, Iran - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband , provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Iran.

It reports that Internet censorship is strict. By November 2008 the number of banned sites was put at over 5 million.

Iran is very stony ground for any form of digital media to grow or flourish due to the government's strict control and censorship of Internet media and its banning of satellite TV dishes to receive the wealth of free to air DTH satellite TV channels available in the region.


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