NCRI-US Staff, 2 May 2018
On Tuesday, May 1st, the Iranian regime blocked the popular messaging app Telegram from the country. Iranian regime authorities claimed that the messaging app, used by over 40 million Iranians, posed significant threats to national security.
The ban on Telegram comes as a result of a statement posted on the news website Mizan, which is affiliated with the regime’s judiciary. Mizan released a statement from a prosecutor who accused Telegram of supporting terrorist organizations. Further complaints focused on the regime’s inability to have full control or censors over Telegram, which led to them completing blocking the app.
Telegram is widely used throughout the country and played a pivotal role in acting as a channel for protests across the country to connect during the uprisings that started in December 2017 and continues to date. The Iranian regime’s president Hassan Rouhani promised to deliver greater freedoms for the citizens of Iran, but fell short of these promises. Even a Journalist in Iran took to Twitter to highlight the widespread feelings of discontent against the regime, “Mr. President, none of your promises were realized, and preventing Telegram from being blocked is your last stronghold.”
A key member of Rouhani’s cabinet, minister of information and communication technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, said on Twitter that, “Administering sanctions against ourselves from the modern world will cause backwardness.” Since Jahromi’s comment, there have been unverified reports that he has since resigned from his position.
In substitution of the Telegram app, officials encouraged people to switch to Iranian applications such as Soroush, but most Iranians have not heeded their suggestions, as apps such as Soroush, Mobogram, Telegram Black, Telegram Talaei are practically tools operated by the Iranian regime to spy on the users and gain access to content and context of the messages as well as their contact lists.