A few days ago we reported that users inside Iran were facing difficulties accessing the popular text messaging app, Telegram. Last week the co-founder of the Russian app accused Iran’s Ministry of Communications for blocking Telegram to users inside the country.
Fars News reported that, Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran’s Minister of Communications answered to some questions regarding the accusations in a press conference.
According to the Ministry of Communications, they had asked Telegram to remove its unethical content in order for it to not get filtered in Iran. Telegram then blocks some of the content, but after some time they unblock it again.
“The disturbances in Telegram application were because of disconnections in some communication channels. Turkey, the Bab-el-Mandeb and Persian Gulf, the three channels which connect Iran to the world were damaged. All the countries in these channels’ path had disturbances, including Iran”, Said the Minister of Communications. “Government’s policy is to not filter any social networks matching the Iranian law”, he then added.
“Ministry of Communications is not the decision maker for filtering. It’s the Committee of Criminal Content Determination that makes the decision to filter unethical websites. Then they order the Ministry of Communications for the execution.” Vaezi added that the executives of Telegram thought the disturbances are only towards their app, so they claimed Iran has blocked Telegram.
When Vaezi was asked why the disturbances only affected Telegram, he answered: “The disturbances had caused lags for other social networks too, but because Telegram’s servers are in Europe, it made it slower.”
“The Committee of Criminal Content Determination had requested for the filtering of Telegram, but the Ministry of Communications asked for some time to contact Telegram to remove its immoral content.”
Vaezi noted that they had asked Telegram to block its unethical content, but about two weeks ago some of those pages were once again accessible. So they contacted them again via email to block those content. “Because they can’t confess that they unblocked the immoral content, they’re now trying to accuse us of spying on users”, said Vaezi.
Vaezi mentioned that they believe in the privacy of people on the Internet and over mobile. Adding that if a Jury asks for access to someone’s personal data, it doesn’t have to do anything with the Ministry of Communications nor the government.
After Viber getting half-blocked, Telegram become the number one text messaging app in Iran. Only on Café Bazaar, Telegram has over 15 million active users.
The debate over Telegram has been a hot topic in the past couple of days in Iran. What do you think about this whole situation? Leave a comment.