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Iranian Government Blocks Internet, Social Media in Attempt to Shut Down Protests

12 January 2018

Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology, publicly called out the channel for "encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest".

"Google has chosen to adhere to the strictest letter of the law regarding sanctions in Iran, and by doing so they are blocking Iranians from this service", Mr. Anderson said.

Since the 2009 protests against a disputed presidential election that gave hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term were ruthlessly put down, many middle-class Iranians have abandoned hope of securing change from the streets.

"There are numerous Telegram channels which promote violence and terrorist acts, we have statistics and evidence but we have not publicized tem not to promote violence", he said. "We consider freedom of speech an undeniable human right, and would rather get blocked in a country by its authorities than limit peaceful expression of alternative opinions".

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"Authorities in Iran have blocked numerous country's citizens from accessing the Telegram messaging application after the company refused to close down several channels, according to the firm's founder and CEO".

"People poured into the streets today because they are exhausted of the rising cost of living", a protester in Kermanshah told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Mostafa, an Iranian student whose last name has been withheld out of concerns for his safety, told CNN that getting around filtering and censorship was a priority - and that he was using a Chinese anti-filtering app to circumvent the ban. The restrictions on Instagram and Telegram are imposed to maintain tranquillity, said, President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran's government has also been targeting Telegram channel administrators - issuing a requirement that admins of channels with more than 5,000 members register with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. "Governments learn slowly, but they do learn".

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Jahromi vs Durov: This is not the first time that Jahromi and Durov have butted heads. It called for protests Sunday at sites across Iran before the government ordered the app shut down. Ahmadinejad has since joined the app.

Telegram is one of the biggest social media platforms in Iran.

The "core" problem, he believes, is the centralized nature of the app, which is entirely controlled by its developers, who insist that they will never reveal their user data, or comply with illegal requests by governments. But jailbroken phones and apps can not be updated, leaving their users open to hackers and government monitors that take advantage of bugs in outdated software. Since there is a lot of Government influence on the traditional media, the social media has been very popular in the country. The app works by creating its own network outside the internet, relying on a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi link that exists between two phones.

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Iranian Government Blocks Internet, Social Media in Attempt to Shut Down Protests