Official says legal VPN creation in Iran failed

Iran Materials 21 August 2013 14:13 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 21 / Trend, N. Umid

Creating legal Virtual Private Network (VPN) project has failed, managing director of Iran's Telecommunication Infrastructure Company, Mahmoud Khosravi said, Iranian IRIB 2 State TV reported.

The reasons for that, according to Khosravi is because private sector of Iran did not welcome the idea, and only 26 providers in Iran have registered for providing legal VPN services.

"Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace announced at the end of last year that foreign VPNs servers should be blocked in Iran, while saying that a domestic VPN should be established for country's private sector to use domestically," Khosravi said.

In Iran, according to local laws, if an internet user wants to legally bypass the filtering, he/she should get permission from Iran's Filtering Committee. On the other hand, a lot of users in Iran, according to local media, illegally use foreign VPNs to bypass imposed governmental internet filtering on some websites.

A widespread government internet filter prevents Iranians from accessing thousands of sites, which are considered to be illegal, offensive or criminal, by Iran's official structures.

Many Iranians evade the filter through use of VPN software, which provides encrypted links directly to private networks based abroad, and can allow a computer to behave as if it is based in another country.

In March 2013, the head of Iranian parliament's information and communications technology committee, Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard said that Illegal VPN ports in the country have been blocked, adding that only legal and registered VPNs can from now on can be used.

Earlier, in January of 2013, ecretary of Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council, Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi told Mehr news agency that Internet users in Iran would soon be able to purchase registered VPN connections.

On the other hand, Amin Sabeti, a UK-based researcher on Iranian media and the web, said foreign companies such as airlines and banks have had problems using VPNs in Iran.