Iranian official dismisses lifting ban on Facebook(UPDATE)

Iran Materials 17 September 2013 12:24 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 17 /Trend N. Umid/

Secretary of the Iran's Cyber Crimes Working Group Abdul-Samad Khorram-Abadi dismissed reports about lifting ban on Facebook in Iran, Mehr news agency reported.

He went on to note that last night Facebook was accessible, apparently due to technical bugs.

Khorram-Abadi added that, the working group has established a technical committee to investigate the issue.

It should be recalled that an aware source in Tehran told Trend that, Some Iranian Internet service providers have lifted ban on accessing Facebook yesterday.

Facebook was still inaccessible by some providers including Iran's Telecommunication Company, the report said.

On September 9, Iranian media outlets quoted member of Iran's Committee on Internet filtering Mohammad Reza Aghamiri as saying that Iran may conditionally unblock Facebook.

"We should develop a smart filtering system for separating illegal and useful content on Facebook," Aghamiri said, adding that Facebook may be unblocked after that.

"Previously, administration will look into whether joining Facebook is legal or not," Iranian Vice President for Legal Affairs Mrs. Elham Aminzadeh said.

She made the remarks after Iranian media outlets reported that some Ministers of President Hassan Rouhani`s administration have joined Facebook.

The Iranian authorities blacked out Facebook and Twitter in summer 2009, when ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election victory sparked massive protests that gained momentum with the help of organizers using social media.

Alongside Facebook, Iran has blocked access to many websites including You Tube.

Most users have found the ways to evade the state censors and get access to all sites via proxy tunnels and channels.

The number of internet users in the year which ended in March 2012 reached 32.7 million in Iran. The number of GPRS users amounts to 27.5 million, accounting for 36 percent of total internet users in Iran as of current year.

Some 867,000 people are using high-speed internet, and about 6 million people are using internet via an optical fiber network.

Since 2005, Iran has been developing a "national internet" to improve control over its content as well as speed.

The project, which is separate from the World Wide Web, was scheduled to be completed by 2013. This network will be separated from the rest of the internet which is specifically for domestic use.