Authorities say Iranian internet users chalked up more visits to pornographic sites than people from any other country on Ashura Day, a Shiite day of mourning.
The Fars news agency reports that Ebrahim Bayani, a senior official of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, told a meeting of IRGC commanders and administrators that the Revolutionary Guards Cyber Army has established that among internet users from 182 countries, Iranians made the highest number of visits to “immoral sites” on Ashura Day.
He added that these “alarming statistics” and the use of satellites mean “we cannot expect the youth of the country to have any motivation to fast or go to mosque.”
Iranian internet users are heavily restricted in their web access, barred from visiting several news sites and sites that the government deems “immoral.”
However, Iranian web users can overcome state restrictions with special software designed to break through filters.
Iranian Prosecutor Ghilamhossein Mohseni Ejei heads a committee that decides which websites should be blocked by the Islamic Republic government. The committee is comprised of representatives from the ministries of education, communications, intelligence, technology and culture, as well as representatives from national broadcasting and security forces.
Bayani argued that “the enemies” use cultural means and “corrupt internet sites and satellite channels to separate the people from religion and deplete the regime from within.”
He added that “strikes against religious values such as hijab [the Islamic dress code] modesty, philanthropy and hard work, as well as the promotion of loose behaviour are among the aims of our enemies’ satellite programming.”