Human Rights

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Iran Reimposes Internet Ban, Claims “Technical Faults”

Iranian officials Tuesday blamed technical glitch for the creation of a brief window Monday in which Iranian citizens were allowed to access banned social media sites, reimposing restrictions and pointedly warning that they would be “investigating to see which… companies” had lifted the filters.

Early on Tuesday Reuters reported that official policy had not changed and “technical faults” had mistakenly led to the restrictions being lifted.

It quoted Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, who heads the committee that oversees Iran’s net filters, as saying it was looking into the hitch.

“We are investigating to see which of these companies has done this,” he said.

Direct access to social media sites was blocked in 2009 following mass protests that swept the country after being organized via the Internet, and a crackdown earlier this year ahead of the June presidential elections was attributed to regime fears of another wave of protests.

Western journalists stationed in the country announced that they were able to access Twitter and Facebook without the use of proxies, sparking what the BBC described as hopes of “the start of a more tolerant attitude towards social media by the government.” Thomas Erdbrink, Tehran bureau chief for The New York Times, for example celebrated on Twitter:


The reimposition of restrictions is likely to renew criticisms of Tehran’s efforts to create a “halal Internet” on which it can control and filter content. Secure Google searches, some Western political sites, and social media outlets are all blocked in the country.

[Photo: Paymanmk / YouTube]