Inside Iran: Tehran’s censorship of the Internet

Two Iranian women surf the Internet at a cafe in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept, 17, 2013. (AP)

Iran’s ruling elite keep a healthy presence on social networking sites, despite these same platforms being banned in the country under the pretext that such websites are against Islamic values.

Al Arabiya News Channel released a series of reports titled Inside Iran which take a look at the workings of the Islamic republic. This article is based on one of the reports.


Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, are all on Twitter. But Iran’s citizens are not,

One user tweeted at Rowhani in October 2013 asking if Iranians will be able to read his tweets. The president responded with a promise that there will be changes, Al Arabiya reported.

However, Twitter remains one of the 15,000 websites banned in Iran – including Facebook and YouTube.

The popular social media sites were blocked after the 2009 protests, widely referred to as the Green Movement, against the then controversial reelection of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

While authorities say they have blocked these sites because they go against the country’s Islamic values, regime critics say it is an attempt to limit the minds of the people, according to Al Arabiya.

Tehran has also adopted what it called “intelligent filtering,” instead of blocking entire sites, as is the case with Instagram.

A popular Instagram account called Rich Kids of Tehran showcased the life of the country’s young and wealthy in an image different from the one adopted by the government. Users in Iran cannot browse the account as it has been filtered.

Despite the strict ban on these sites, an estimated 37 percent of internet users in the country have succeeded to log on to Google. While 58 percent confessed that they have accessed Facebook through other means.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47