The Iran Project

Facebook likely to be widely accessible in Iran soon – Tehran

Facebook will most likely be widely accessible in Tehran as well as all over Iran in the near future according to Iran’s Culture Minister. The government is currently working on allowing for open use of the social networking site, along with other popular websites.

“Four million Iranians are on Facebook, and we have restricted it,” said Minister Ali Jannati, according to AFP and then added, “We cannot restrict the advance of (such technology) under the pretext of protecting Islamic values.”

Iranian officials block out pages considered to be un-Islamic, immoral, or in some way undermining the Islamic foundation, with a large filtering device. Under the current policy, social sites like Facebook are one of the many that individuals are denied access to in Iran, though crowds of people in the nation still find a way onto the site. Some Iranians show off their tech-savviness by using anti-filters to get around the restrictions imposed on their daily Internet browsing.

Jannati compared the current situation to one of the past, with the ban on fax machines, video tapes, and players put into place at the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution. “If we look back, we see many of the actions we took after the revolution were ridiculous,” he said, according to

Hassan Rouhani made clear in a speech he gave just one month before being taking on the presidential responsibilities of the country, that a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people.”

“We need a strong society, a strong government. Today, the ground has been prepared for popular participation. The people have pinned their hopes on the future. A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people. This is not a strong government,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani told an Iranian magazine just two weeks after he won in the elections that he thought social networking sites like Facebook were a welcome phenomenon. This past Sunday, Jannati asserted that the government body was trying to work on lifting the constraints on websites.

“The six ministers who are members of the (filtering) committee have clearly stated that we cannot continue to isolate ourselves from the world,” Jannati said, according to AFP and added, “However, (filtering) is one of those issues whose solution requires time. And it will be resolved in time.”

By The Voice of Russia


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