Iran’s Minister of Communications and Technology has expressed his opposition to the blocking of mobile social networking sites such as Viber, despite calls from the judiciary to keep Iranians from accessing them.
Mahmoud Vaezi said on Wednesday October 1 that shutting access to sites such as Viber and Whatsapp is “not the right approach”, and as long as they are put to good use and subscribers “watch against possible criminal content”, the government will support their use.
Vaezi told a press conference that universities and specialists in the private sector have been encouraged to create social networks within the country.
The judiciary issued a call to stop these networking sites on the alleged charge of “criminal content and insulting sanctities and officials.”
Vaezi stressed that these networking sites are affordable tools in the hands of the users but added that users must also take care that these tools do not become ways of offending public morality.
Iranian authorities exercise widespread control on internet use in Iran. However, internet users access almost all websites through the use of proxies. Recent reports indicate that Iran has one of the world’s lowest internet speeds, and the Rohani administration’s attempts to improve internet access in Iran have been countered by a conservative backlash calling for censorship through rigid control.