Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 20
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
The US administration was hopeful of managing to overthrow Iran's regime with the help of social networks such as Tweeter and Facebook, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said referring to the presidential election protests in 2009, IRINN state TV reported on Nov. 20.
The Iranian authorities banned Facebook and Twitter in the summer of 2009 when ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election victory sparked off massive protests that gained momentum with the help of organisers using social media.
Khamenei remarked that the United States administration asked one of the social networks to delay scheduled maintenance to avoid disrupting communications among Iranian demonstrators.
The US administration while insisting it is not meddling in Iran, confirmed it had asked Twitter to remain open to help anti-government protesters, the Guardian reported in June 2009.
The company had planned a temporary shutdown to overhaul its service but the US state department put in a request to postpone this move.
During the last few months since Hassan Rouhani took office as the new president of Iran in August, criticism against the filtering policies in Iran has increased.
Several members of Rouhani`s administration are using Facebook and Iranian moderate officials have repeatedly criticised the ban on Facebook and other social networks.
On Nov. 15, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ali Jannati who is already an active Facebook user said that using the website is not a criminal act, adding that the issue should be discussed in Iran's Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content.
Earlier on November 5, Jannati stated that Facebook should be available for all Iranians.
He also criticised the current filtering system in Iran, saying that not only Facebook, but other social networks should be accessible in the country.
On November 12, Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mahmoud Vaezi underlined that useful Facebook pages should be unblocked in the country, saying Iran should develop a mechanism to separate safe and unsafe Facebook pages.
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 per cent of total Internet users in Iran in the current year.