Iran’s Minister of Communications and Technology has announced that current internet services will not be replaced by the National Information Network that’s now being developed, but rather the two will exist alongside each other.
ILNA reports that Reza Taghipour said on Tuesday: “The National Information Network will in no way take the place of internet.”
He added: “The internet will be provided as a service as before and will remain alongside the National Information Network, and whoever needs that service can avail themselves of it.”
The National Information Network, also called the “Clean Internet” or “National Internet”, is something that Islamic Republic officials have been promising to launch since last year, as a response to what they regard as inappropriate online content.
This most recent statement by the Minster of Communications and Technology starkly contradicts earlier official statements, which purported that Iran was developing a kind of intranet for national use in order to keep Iranians from accessing the World Wide Web.
The concept has already been put into practice in China and North Korea.
Taghipour added, however, that there is no doubt that internet search engines are used as tools for spying on internet users.
In order to protect the privacy of Iranian internet users, he added, a number of non-governmental organizations are currently developing domestic search engines that people can use through the National Information Network.
Previously, Iran’s head of security forces, Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, had referred to the Google search engine as a “spying tool.”