Iranian authorities have blocked access to Yahoo News and Reuters.com expanding their usual restrictions on foreign sites.
Reuters reports that their site has been blocked since Monday and while there has been no official acknowledgement of the restrictions, an unidentified Iranian official contacted by Reuters told them that the government was looking into the problem in order to remove it.
Iran’s Committee for Internet Filtering Instances, which runs under the supervision of Iran’s Prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, determines which sites will be blocked.
Several sites including Radio Zamaneh, BBC, Radio Farda, Deutsche Welle, Voice of Amercia as well as Facebook, Twitter and Balatarin, are on the Committee’s long list of blocked sites and have been beyond reach of Iranians without use of proxies.
According to recent ISNA reports internet users have reported a sudden decrease in internet speeds across Tehran. “Google, Yahoo, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail have been hardly accessible in the past days,” ISNA reports.
Head of a major internet service provider told ILNA that “security checks on the internet” as the main cause of the increase in download times.
Despite recent statements from the Islamic Republic establishment trying to attribute the Egyptian uprising to their efforts in exporting the Islamic system in the region, the move to make further restrictions on internet access appears to endorse the view of the Iranian opposition that the Egyptian protests, which are also facing government restrictions on the internet, are in fact an extension of the anti-government Green Movement in Iran which took shape following the presidential elections of 2009 in protest to election fraud and government oppression of peaceful protests.
During the massive street demonstrations that followed the last Iranian presidential elections, internet speeds were heavily reduced which the opposition attributed to government efforts to stop opposition from rallying protesters.
The recent cyber interference has also been attributed by some opposition sites to possible demonstrations being organized for the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution in February.