After many debates, Iran’s judiciary ultimately ordered the country’s ISPs and mobile network providers to block Telegram.
On Monday night, April 30th, it was announced that Iran’s judiciary has finally decided to block Telegram, the app which over half of the Iranian population are active on. President Rouhani and the ICT Minister had previously stated that they are against any sort of permanent ban of social networks in the country, but the decision was finally made by the other arms of the government.
The app got blocked after midnight by all the three major mobile network providers in the country (Hamrah-e Aval, Irancell and Rightel) but it’s still accessible by some of the fixed-line internet providers.
On Tuesday morning, Azari Jahromi wrote a series of tweets about the necessity of freedom of access to information. Later some of the local media announced that the Minister is having a meeting with president behind closed doors and it been said that he has handed in his resignation. Azari Jahromi later denied this statement.
In the past weeks, many government officials and parliament representatives had warned the people that this app would soon get blocked and users should migrate to other messaging apps. Previously government employees were also asked to quit using Telegram and use local messaging apps for work purposes.
Iranian authorities believe that Telegram has become a “one-sided media” which could potentially have a wrecking impact on the country’s economy due to its plans to issue its own cryptocurrency.
What would happen next?
Although Iranian messaging apps have been gaining more users with the support of some of the local media in the past weeks, users are still hesitant to migrate to these apps. Read about the reasons from this link. According to the polls, Iranians still prefer using Telegram with VPNs instead of using other messaging apps.
This morning, the Iranian ICT Minister told the media that based on evidence of blocking this service in Russia which did not succeed, the same could occur in Iran.
The Russian government blocked Telegram on April 16th, due to the app’s refusal to grant security services the access to the encrypted messages of users. Yesterday thousands of Russians marched down on the streets of Moscow in response to this decision.