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AFP
May 6, 2018

Iran govt ‘does not approve’ Telegram blockage

World

AFP
May 6, 2018

TEHRAN: The Iranian government “does not approve” of the judiciary’s recent blockage of the Telegram messaging app, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday.

“The recent blocking and filtering of Telegram was not implemented by the government and the government does not approve of it,” read a post on Rouhani’s Instagram account.

A Tehran judge on Monday ordered telecoms companies to “totally block” Telegram after accusations that the app has allowed armed opposition groups to fuel unrest and has not cooperated with counter-terrorism efforts.

The move highlighted differences of opinion between the government of reformist Rouhani, elected to a second term in 2017, and ultra-conservatives who control the judiciary and security services.

Telegram is the Islamic republic’s most popular social network with some 40 million users, around half the population.

Iran’s telecoms minister responded to the ban by saying it was “impossible to block citizen’s access to information”.

Social networks Facebook and Twitter are also blocked in the Islamic Republic but accessible via virtual private network (VPN) software which can circumvent internet blackouts.

The judiciary wants to prevent this in the case of Telegram.

Authorities temporarily banned the app during a wave of protests in dozens of Iranian cities early this year, saying it enabled foreign-based “counter-revolutionary” groups to stir tensions.

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