Iranian justice has ordered the shutdown of popular instant messaging app Telegram to protect national security, state television reported on Monday.
The order follows a temporary ban introduced by the government in January after dissidents used it to stage protests.
Read more: Mummified body in Iran poses political puzzle
- State TV reported that the prosecutor ordered companies to block the app in a way that would not allow users to bypass restrictions by using a virtual private network.
- Although Telegram has been used by dissidents to successfully stage mass protests, Iranian authorities say the app’s main clientele are terrorists and pornographers.
- In anticipation of the ban, many government-affiliated users had already opted for Iranian alternatives to international service.
Read more: Russian court blocks Telegram messaging app
âAgainst the establishmentâ?
“In view of various complaints filed against the application of social network Telegram by Iranian citizens and on the basis of the demand of the security organizations to deal with the illegal activities of Telegram, the judiciary has banned its use in Iran,” state television reported when the decision was announced on Monday.
Mizan, the Iranian justice website, reported that authorities ordered the app closed for actions that “included anti-establishment propaganda, terrorist activities, spreading lies to incite public opinion public, anti-government protests and pornography “.
Telegram had just been sent back to Iran and several other countries after the servers at the company’s headquarters in Dubai overheated over the weekend: âService is now restored for most of Europe, from the Africa, Russia and the CIS, “Telegram’s social media team wrote on Twitter. Sunday, referring to the Commonwealth of Independent States, “Iran and the Middle East are coming soon.”
Read more:Iran unblocks Telegram messaging service closed in nationwide protests
Preventive measure possible: Media believe authorities finalized ban on service ahead of May 12 deadline for US President Donald Trump to decide whether to renew sanctions relief for Iran in line with 2015 multinational deal by his predecessor, Barack Obama. If Trump refuses, the effects on the national economy could see the Iranians taking to the streets to protest their government again.
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Suitable for a model
Iran is also currently at the center of several regional disputes, having engaged Middle Eastern rivals by proxy in the civil wars in Yemen and Syria, in addition to trying to play a stabilizing role in Iraq.
The Iranian order of justice came as people took to the streets in Russia to protest the blocking of the Telegram service there and even state leaders less often described as thugs halted encryption. user to user. communications.
Read more: Britain’s Rudd launches email app encryption attack
The domestic alternative
Authorities encouraged Iranians to use domestic alternatives to Telegram before the ban, including the new Soroush app. However, many people are concerned that the security services have built spy capabilities into these apps and have been reluctant to use them.
Read more: Brief WhatsApp ban in Brazil prompts users to look for alternatives
At rallies on Monday, Russians demanded return of their telegram – and free internet too
mkg / rt (Reuters, AP)
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