Iran’s judiciary has repelled a Government attempt to open social media, saying that Twitter must continued to be banned as an “enemy” platform.
“Twitter belongs to our American enemies….Therefore the Twitter ban will not be lifted,” Deputy Chief Attorney General Abdolsamad Khoramabadi said on Tuesday.
Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi had called for the removal of the ban, maintained even though many Iranian officials — including the Supreme Leader, President Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif — have Twitter accounts.
Khoramabadi said the Minister should promote local internet services instead of supporting US platforms.
The Iranian regime has long barred outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, sometimes prosecuting and detaining activists who use the platforms through proxy networks. Other social media applications, such as Telegram, have been blocked at moments of tension, such as January’s nationwide protests.
Those ongoing protests surged again last month, as Iran tries to cope with internal problems as well as US sanctions, feeding difficulties with production, investment, trade, employment, the banking and financial sectors, and a falling currency.
An estimated 30 million Iranians — almost 40% of the country’s population — are evading the social media bans.
Iran Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri issued another warning on Wednesday, saying, “”As a prosecutor, I demand that cyberspace be saved from pollution and that this highway should be cleaned up from corrupted elements.”
Montazeri told a conference on cyber-crime that if restrictions were not maintained and extended, Iran’s financial matters would be affected.