Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 24 /Trend S.Isayev, T. Jafarov/
The web's search engine giant Google, and its Google Mail service have been temporarily blocked by Iranian authorities, Secretary of the Internet criminal content control committee Abdul Samad Khoramabadi said, ILNA reported.
According to Khoramabadi, the move was initiated due to numerous requests from internet users in the country, with connection to the anti-Islamic film "Innocence of Muslims".
The announcement, made by Khoramabadi came as state television announced Google's search engine and its email service would be blocked "within a few hours".
"Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice," Khoramabadi noted.
Iran has one of the biggest Internet filters of any country in the world, preventing normal Iranians from accessing countless sites on the official grounds they are offensive or criminal.
Iranians commonly overcome the government filter by using virtual private network (VPN) software that makes the computer appear as if it is based in another country.
But officials have long spoken of creating an Iranian Internet system which would be largely isolated from the World Wide Web.
"In recent days, all governmental agencies and offices ... have been connected to the national information network," deputy communications and technology minister Ali Hakim-Javadi was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
The second phase of the plan would be to connect ordinary Iranians to the national network, he said.
The Islamic Republic tightened cyber security after its nuclear program was attacked in 2010 by the Stuxnet computer worm, which caused centrifuges to fail at its main uranium enrichment facility.
Tehran, whose nuclear programme is suspected by the West of being aimed at developing a bomb, accused the United States and Israel of deploying the worm.
Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at email@example.com