Iran not to ban access to WhatsApp messenger application

Iran not to ban access to WhatsApp messenger application

Tehran, Iran, May 6

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

Iran's Information and Communications Technology Ministry rejected rumors about banning access to WhatsApp messenger application in the country.

Ministry officials say no new change has been made in the policies of the ministry in regards to such applications, Iran's ISNA News Agency reported on May 6.

Iran's Information and Communications Technology Minister, Mahmoud Vaezi also said that the country's President Hassan Rouhani has vetoed the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content' decision for banning access to the application, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported on May 6.

The secretary of the committee, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, previously said that the president cannot veto the committee's decision

Vaezi, however, said that the secretary of committee is in no place to make decisions for the country's president.

Previously Vaezi said that access to any social network should not be banned due to economic considerations or the facilities they provide to their users.

It was reported on April 30 that Iran had banned access to WhatsApp messenger application in the country.

The secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, said that the committee made the decision at the end of the previous Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20), Iranian ISNA news agency reported.

Khorramabadi went on to say that the Information and Communications Technology Ministry has not implemented the decision yet, however the committee has officially informed the ministry about it.

While responding to a question about the reasons behind the ban, Khorramabadi refused to give further details, saying the Information and Communications Technology Ministry should issue a response to that.

The official also said that the committee has not made a decision yet on filtering other smart phone network applications such as Viber, Tango and Instagram.

"Maybe in the future the committee will look into blocking the applications," he added.

Iran already made decision to block access to another social network application WeChat last December.

The Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content which is headed by the prosecutor general of Iran, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei was established in 2009.

The committee has 13 members including 6 ministers from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani`s cabinet.

Several of world's most popular networks, such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in Iran, while users are still able to access them via proxies. A proxy allows bypassing 'gates' meant to block certain sites.

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

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