Baku, Azerbaijan, April 22
By Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his government will protect the peoples’ right to use social media.
“Breaking monopolies and backing the domestic messaging apps do not mean imposing restrictions on other social media platforms. The people have right to choose and they can simultaneously use various social media platforms,” Hassan Rouhani wrote on his Instagram account on Sunday.
A recent decision by the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to shut down his Telegram channel fuelled speculations about imposing an imminent ban on the popular messaging app.
The office of the supreme leader cited safeguarding national interests, ending “Telegram’s monopoly on the country’s social media” and supporting domestic messaging apps as main reasons behind the decision.
In the meantime, the country’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri announced that he was quitting Telegram followed by a directive sent to all government departments telling them to stop using the app.
Supporters of Telegram estimate that about 40 million Iranians, almost half of the country’s population, use it, claiming that the app has become a source of income for hundreds of citizens across the country.
The Supreme Council of Cyberspace has earlier set five conditions for foreign messengers to operate in Iran.
Storing and processing Iranian users’ data inside the country, complying with the rules and regulations related to the protection of users' privacy as well as responding to queries from judicial authorities are among the stated conditions.