Clergies Block Telegram in Iran, Youths Crack the Filters

Trump, Macron & Merkel have called for a more comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. They want to draw a political map to curb Iranian missile development, and sunset both the nuclear activities and its disestablishing meddling role in the region.

A new challenge resurfaced before the authorities in Iran, Iran’s judiciary banned the popular Telegram instant messaging app to protect national security.

Iranian state television said on Monday April 30, 2018 According to Reuters, Iran has banned Telegram after claiming the app inspires and spreads uprisings and anti-government protests, as happened when anti-government protests exploded in 142 cities in December 2017.

Telegram has become one of the most popular instant messaging apps in the world, with 200 million users, including Iran with 40 million clients.

In the absence of a free and unrestrained press in Iran, Social media, especially telegram has incredible influence on Iranian life, community, culture, views, and business. Telegram is widely used by Iranian youths who try to circumvent the clerical regime’s censorship on the internet.

Telegram allows them to share the joy of wonderful news from friends and unites them together in groups.

That subject gradually evolved into a dilemma for Iranian authorities. To get a solution Iranian officials have been trying to get Iranians to use domestic alternatives to Telegram, like Soroush.

Although this app offers many of Telegram’s features, many Iranians are reluctant to use domestic apps, fearing they could be used by security services to spy on them.

People threw paper planes, the symbol of Telegram, at a rally in Moscow on Monday April 30, 2018 against the government’s blocking of the app. But in Iran Despite Social media censorship and blocking the telegram app, the Iranian genius youths cracked the filters and bypassed them, by using virtual private networks (VPNs).

In the battle of technology, the authorities in Iran expanded filtering of the Internet, using satellite signal jamming to prevent bypassing and accessing social media.

When a number of popular social networks were blocked in Iran, local social networks started to emerge one by one to fill in the gap.

Officials in Iran said protesters used Telegram to organize the rallies, which were ultimately contained by the Revolutionary Guards and their affiliated volunteer Basij militia.

Meanwhile National council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
in its recent statement called for protest against shutting down Telegram by the Iran Regime. They added : “The Iranian Resistance strongly condemns this repressive action and urges all the people, especially the youth across the country, to protest Internet repression and blocking of Telegram. It also calls on the UN Security Council, the member states and relevant international bodies, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as international authorities defending human rights and freedom of expression, to strongly condemn this internet piracy and communications crackdown that violates many international treaties, and to take the necessary measures to deal with this breach of law at the international level, and to secure free access to the Internet and social networks and secure communications for the Iranian people.”

Sadegh Larijani, the Iranian judiciary chief, said a few days ago: “Social networks are now used by the arrogance and the PMOI to undermine the pillars of the system.” (ILNA State News Agency-April 25). The IRGC news
network, FARS, described Telegram as a means to threaten national security and to cause revolt, turmoil, disappointment and incitement to pessimism in the society.

In fact the internet has long been a battleground in Iran between the people and the supreme leader who feels he must protect the regime from dangerous influences. This struggle intensified when Telegram, refused the Iranian regime’s request to filter news channels sympathetic to (PMOI/MEK).

Shahin Gobadi, a PMOI spokesman, said: “The clerical regime’s attempt to urge even foreign companies to filter the channels sympathetic to the Iranian Resistance clearly manifests the regime’s fear and anxiety regarding the growing popularity of the Iranian Resistance at home, in particular among the young Iranians.”

In recent years, Reporters Without Borders designated 19 countries as “enemies of the internet” for actions ranging from Social media censorship in Iran to North Korea building its own internal
internet and walling its citizens off from the global web.

Last year, more than 70,000 cyberspace users were arrested (192 Per Day) In Iran.

To end this problem, note that when a number of popular social networks were blocked in Iran, local social networks started to emerge one by one to fill in the gap.

Hassan Mahmoudi
Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.